Venture Global LNG Inc. on Wednesday reached a positive final investment decision (FID) on its Plaquemines liquefied natural gas (LNG) export project in Louisiana. It also completed $13.2 billion of financing for the first phase.

The FID is the first time a U.S. project has been sanctioned since August 2019. At that time, Venture Global gave the green light to move ahead with the Calcasieu Pass terminal in Louisiana, which is currently being commissioned.

“The project has attracted robust financial and commercial support, which has enabled us to formally sanction this project at a critical moment for energy markets,” said CEO Mike Sabel. “Speed matters more than ever, and Venture Global is uniquely positioned to quickly bring U.S.  LNG to the market to support global energy security and environmental progress.”

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The company has seized on a buying spree of sorts among the world’s gas consumers, which have moved aggressively since last year to secure stable long-term LNG supplies amid soaring spot prices.

Venture Global also said Wednesday it would upsize the first phase of Plaquemines to 13.33 million metric tons/year (mmty). The company has signed long-term agreements for 16 mmty of the 20 mmty nameplate capacity. This year alone, the company has signed deals for the terminal with Petroliam Nasional Berhad, aka Petronas, ExxonMobil, New Fortress Energy Inc. (NFE) and Shell plc.

First phase customers include China National Offshore Oil Corp., Électricité de France SA, Polish Oil and Gas Co. and Shell. Second phase customers include ExxonMobil, Petronas and NFE.

The company noted Wednesday it is actively marketing supply from a third proposed facility, CP2 LNG. It has signed two long-term offtake deals with ExxonMobil and NFE for that project. 

Go, Gator Express!

Twenty global banks came together to provide financing for Plaquemines, which includes the funds needed to move ahead with the Gator Express pipeline. 

The system would include two segments, each with the ability to move 1.9 Bcf/d of natural gas from new interconnections with Tennessee Gas Pipeline Co. LLC and Texas Eastern Transmission LP to the Plaquemines terminal in Plaquemines Parish, 20 miles south of New Orleans. 

The FID is another milestone in what’s been a busy year in the global gas market. A lack of supplies, combined with Europe’s push to displace Russian energy supplies following the invasion of Ukraine, has sent buyers to the negotiating table for long-term contracts. According to Wood Mackenzie, more than 10 mmty of long-term LNG deals have been signed so far this year. 

Calcasieu Pass shipped its first commissioning cargo earlier this year, and set a U.S. record of 29 months from FID to first production. Once the facility enters full service, the United States would have the world’s largest peak LNG export capacity at nearly 14 Bcf/d. 

In addition to Plaquemines, Golden Pass LNG in Texas also has been sanctioned and is under construction. After Calcasieu Pass, Golden Pass would become the eighth U.S. LNG export terminal when it is scheduled to enter service in 2024, boosting the country’s peak export capacity to 16.3 Bcf/d.