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US producer Chesapeake Energy predicts more LNG supply deals; 7% of volume now LNG-linked


'More to come' to follow up Gunvor HOA

Marcellus too infrastructure-constrained for exports

  • Author
  • Jeremy Beaman
  • Editor
  • Valarie Jackson
  • Commodity
  • LNG Natural Gas

Chesapeake Energy foresees the addition of "several more" LNG supply agreements to its portfolio as the shale driller seeks to push up to 20% of its gas production into international markets, Executive Vice President Josh Viets said Sept. 27.

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The company is still finalizing the terms of its Platts JKM-linked, 15-year supply deal with Gunvor after announcing in March a heads of agreement with the commodities trader for 2 million mt/year. The parties in July announced a preliminary to secure liquefaction capacity for half that volume at Energy Transfer's Lake Charles LNG export facility in Louisiana, which has yet to reach a final investment decision.

"There's more to come," Viets said during remarks at the Marcellus Shale Coalition's Shale Insights conference in Erie, Pennsylvania. "That [Gunvor] deal on its own represents about 7% of our total equity volume, so we have several more agreements that we'll be putting in place down the road."

The LNG train

LNG exports have grown tremendously since Cheniere began shipping its first cargo in 2016. Average feedgas demand between just 2020 and 2022 grew by close to 62%, although the latter year's numbers were affected by the months-long outage at Freeport LNG.

Going forward, LNG is expected to be the overwhelming driver of US gas demand growth through 2028, according to analysis from S&P Global Commodity Insights. Feedgas demand is forecast to more than double to roughly 25 Bcf/d in 2028 compared with 2022 levels.

Over the same period, US power burn is forecast to fall by some 12%, according to S&P Global data, which assumes normal weather conditions. Gas producers can expect some upside potential from the industrial sector, where demand is currently forecast to grow by about 5% between 2022 and 2028, but residential-commercial demand is forecast to fall by about 1 Bcf/d over the same period, making LNG the major growth opportunity.

Executives during Chesapeake's second-quarter earnings update detailed their intent to expose 15%-20% of the company's gas production, which during the quarter averaged 3.51 Bcf/d, to global LNG markets to tap the growing market and its premium international pricing.

Chesapeake aims now to replicate its agreement with Gunvor, which would put its Haynesville gas directly into Asian markets, Viets said Sept. 27: "This is ultimately about connecting our gas in the field to international markets."

The fixture basins

Chesapeake has, in recent years, been getting out of basins not named Marcellus or Haynesville, most recently announcing the sale of its last Eagle Ford assets to SilverBow Resources.

Between the two, the prime asset for feeding LNG is Haynesville, Viets said, because of its proximity and capacity to build new infrastructure. The company has invested in Momentum Midstream's 2.2 Bcf/d NG3 project, which is expected to begin connecting additional Haynesville gas to the Gulf Coast in 2024.

The Marcellus, by contrast, is infrastructure-constrained: "One of the things we have to accept is just simply this reality that we live in, which is in the Marcellus, it's unlikely that we see any additional infrastructure," said Viets, who called the Marcellus Chesapeake's "cash-flow machine.

"Its job is to underpin all that we do and allow us, when the market tells us to, to go grow the Haynesville," he said.