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Three new liquefied natural gas projects could get their final investment decisions this year, Reuters has calculated, out of a dozen awaiting the green light.
According to the calculations, those three projects have collected enough buyer commitments to ensure the project would be commercially viable. They include Sempra Energy’s Port Arthur facility and NextDecade’s Rio Grande plant in Texas, and Energy Transfer LP’s Lake Charles plant in Louisiana.
Earlier this year, BloombergNEF forecast that the United States will see a surge in new LNG capacity in the next few years, overtaking Qatar with 169 million metric tons y 2026.
“The US is in the lead because of its flexible contract terms and the competitive landscape of project developers,” Michael Yip, BloombergNEF’s global LNG specialist, said in January. “Its aggressive but transparent pricing and reliability as an LNG supplier has made it easy for these new projects to secure contracts.”
However, with the recent drop in natural gas prices, many planned projects that looked all but certain to be profitable last year may join the delayed club and stay there until prices rise.
Even those three projects identified by Reuters as the most likely to materialize are not certain.
Energy Transfer LP earlier this year warned that it would have to delay its final investment decision on the Lake Charles facility because of intense competition among LNG producers to secure buyers.
NestDecade has secured purchase deals for 64 percent of the capacity the first phase of its Rio Grande facility will have but this needs to rise substantially to merit an FID. According to Morgan Stanley, the company could see commitments rise to 87 percent but it has yet to happen.
Sempra Energy’s Port Arthur project seems to be the one with the highest likelihood to come into existence since the company has already contracted 100 percent of its capacity.
By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com
Irina is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing on the oil and gas industry.