The company completes its first LNG project in the United States in 3 years

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A Virginia-based company said it secured $13.2 billion in financing for a planned liquefied natural gas facility in Louisiana, marking the first financial close for a U.S. LNG export project since August 2019.

Venture Global LNG announced funding yesterday along with a final investment decision to move forward with the Plaquemines LNG facility, whose site is approximately 20 miles south of New Orleans. The $13.2 billion is for the initial phase of the project and the associated Gator Express pipeline.

The project and pipeline reached the financial milestone nearly three years after the financial close of Venture Global’s Calcasieu Pass facility, according to a company statement. The decision on Plaquemines also comes as the war in Ukraine passes the three-month mark and the European Union has published a plan to reduce dependence on Russian natural gas and oil (thread of energyMay 19).

In March, the Biden administration pledged to send more LNG exports to Europe. Experts say US industry could roughly double gas exports without major new regulatory approvals, but needs investors to build already approved LNG projects (Energywire, March 9).

The first phase of Plaquemines is expected to export up to 13.33 million metric tons of LNG per year and the transaction “represents the world’s largest project financing to close to date in 2022,” Venture Global said.

Mike Sabel, CEO of Venture Global, said the Plaquemines facility “will build on the success” of Calcasieu Pass, which saw its first LNG export start earlier this year (thread of energyMarch 2).

Calcasieu Pass “has broken world speed and execution records,” Sabel said in a Plaquemines press release yesterday. “The project has attracted strong financial and commercial support, allowing us to formally sanction this project at a critical time for energy markets.

“Speed ​​matters more than ever, and Venture Global is in a unique position to bring U.S. LNG to market quickly to support global energy security and environmental progress,” Sabel continued.

Charlie Riedl, executive director of the Center for Liquefied Natural Gas, said in a statement that a final investment decision, or FID, means Venture Global has all permits, commercial agreements, project funding and a contractor needed to build the facility.

“As the Plaquemines project is years away from operation, continued licensing of U.S. LNG projects will be an important tool for U.S. foreign policy and will also help deter bad actors from weaponizing energy,” said Riedl.

The Biden administration’s push for LNG has raised concerns among some progressive U.S. lawmakers (Daily O&MMay 20).

“It is critically important that our countries not lock themselves into decades of increased reliance on fossil fuels when climate science, environmental justice and public health concerns require a rapid transition to fully renewable energy,” reads- on in a letter of May 19 from several senators and chambers. Democrats, including Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), President Joe Biden and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen.

In yesterday’s statement on Plaquemines LNG, Venture Global said it has executed 20-year agreements for 80% of the full project, which will have an export capacity of up to 20 million metric tons per year.

Plaquemines’ clients include PGNiG, a Polish state-controlled oil and gas company; Électricité de France SA, a French electric utility company; and China Petroleum & Chemical Corp., among others, Venture Global said in the same press release. Last year the company announced plans for another export facility called CP2 LNG.

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