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First LNG export cargo from Texas headed to Greece: Cheniere

The Maria Energy LNG tanker carrying the first export cargo from Cheniere Energy’s terminal near Corpus Christi, Texas, is headed to Greece, a company spokesman said Thursday.

A statement from Greece’s Ministry of Environment and Energy posted on Twitter by the US Embassy in Athens said the country was expecting its first spot LNG cargo from the US to arrive on December 29. The Tweet from the US Embassy said the US was looking forward to working on a long-term LNG supply deal with Greece.

While the Greek statement did not specify where in the US the cargo was coming from, Cheniere spokesman Eben Burnham-Snyder confirmed the cargo in question is aboard the Maria Energy, which left Texas on Tuesday.

“LNG from the US will be unloaded before the end of the year in DESFA’s new tank at Revithoussa, which was recently launched,” the ministry said in its statement. “This is the first cargo introduced by the US to Greece, stamping the mutual efforts of the two states for closer cooperation in the field of energy security in the South East Mediterranean region.”

DESFA is a natural gas transmission system operator in Greece. Revithoussa is the only LNG receiving terminal in Greece.

Cheniere is the only major US exporter of LNG produced from shale gas to ship a cargo from two different terminals. Its Sabine Pass export terminal in Louisiana shipped its first cargo in 2016.

The US is poised to become a much bigger player in the global supply of LNG. Cheniere and Dominion Energy are both exporting LNG produced from shale gas, and three more developers are expected to have export terminals up and running next year in Texas, Louisiana and Georgia.

At an event at the Texas terminal on November 15 to mark the startup of LNG production the day before, Cheniere CEO Jack Fusco said it was likely the first cargo would go to the Far East. But LNG market economics have been volatile in recent weeks and have changed since then, making Europe a better bet in terms of netbacks. Cheniere’s first cargo from Sabine Pass was shipped to South America.

LNG netbacks to the Corpus Christi export terminal have been declining steadily since early-September, as global demand has waned and US domestic gas prices have run up. Europe has recently emerged as the premier destination for US LNG, with UK NBP netbacks to the Corpus Christi terminal estimated at $1.99/MMBtu, roughly $0.87/MMBtu stronger than the current netback to Platts JKM , the benchmark price for spot LNG in Northeast Asia, Platts Analytics data shows.

To date, Cheniere has shipped approximately 500 cargoes from its two export terminals, and it is bullish about its prospects for future growth, even amid ongoing trade tensions between the US and China. Wood Mackenzie said in a report Thursday that its latest research forecasts that uncontracted demand by the world’s seven largest LNG buyers could quadruple to 80 million mt/year by 2030.

During a teleconference Thursday with market observers, Wells Fargo Securities analyst Michael Webber said Cheniere’s one-stop shop for producing, marketing and delivering LNG around the world on a destination-flexible basis gives it a competitive advantage over some of its peers.

“It’s one of our favorite names, best in breed,” Webber said. “The big difference is the global projects are working, and that’s evident just about everywhere you look.”
Source: Platts

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