United LNG LP would supply at least 4 million metric tons per year of liquefied natural gas (LNG) from the Main Pass Energy Hub, 16 miles off the Louisiana Coast in the Gulf of Mexico, to Petronet LNG Ltd., India’s largest LNG importer, under a conditional agreement between the parties that was signed last week.

The parties said they would continue working toward a final sales purchase agreement with a 20-year contract term. Main Pass is being jointly developed by United LNG and Freeport McMoRan Energy. Petronet is considering purchasing a stake in the project in order to reduce project risk, the companies said Wednesday.

Petronet CEO A.K. Balyan said the deal is the company’s first U.S.-based LNG supply offtake agreement. “As both a reliable and low-cost LNG supplier, the U.S.A. is now the world’s prime target to secure LNG, and this agreement with United is another big step forward to meeting India’s growing demand for clean energy.”

Petronet is United LNG’s largest single LNG buyer and its second Indian subcontinent customer, said United LNG Chairman Stephen Payne. “United LNG now has supply agreements totaling 12 [million metric tons per year], which represent half of our total offtake capacity,” he said. “At [last] week’s LNG [17] conference [in Houston], we made significant progress negotiating with 12 potential customers on three continents, and we expect to be fully subscribed very soon.”

Main Pass has received a free trade agreement (FTA) LNG export license from the U.S. Department of Energy for the facility to export 24 million metric tons per year; a non-FTA application has also been filed and is awaiting DOE approval (see Daily GPI, Sept. 19, 2012).

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