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Global Intelligence Report - 23rd January 2019

Saudi Arabia

Sources

- Nigerian political analyst in Abuja
- Investigative journalist in Dubai
- Former US intelligence operative in Gulf
- A financial executive with ties to highest circles in UAE/Saudi

Saudi Arabia’s US LNG Play: It’s Real

The Saudis are, through Aramco, deep in discussions about investments in US LNG, including with Tellurian Inc (out of Houston) and Sempra Energy (San Diego). Our sources in Dubai, Abu Dhabi and London who work closely with the Saudis confirm that these two companies are the key targets of Saudi LNG investment. The Wall Street Journal has cited unnamed sources talking about these deals, alluding to the fact that they could be announced by the end of this year. Our sources say the deals are still exploratory in nature, but very serious discussions are under way. An Aramco executive told our source in Dubai that a deal could be signed within six months. And our sources believe that Aramco was the leak for the WSJ article because it is keen to let everyone know that it’s expanding its interest ahead of its planned IPO. This is the ramp-up and they’re going for a quiet build.

The Saudis have plenty of reason to be interested in US LNG, beyond what the WSJ pointed out is partly an effort to keep the Americans close at a time when relations have hit a few snags over the Khashoggi murder. But the Saudis absolutely must diversify, and they are also eyeing a foothold of some sort in the LNG game…




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