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Tanker stops at Cameron LNG as 1st export cargo nears

A tanker at the newly operational Cameron LNG terminal in Louisiana could carry the first commissioning cargo of liquefied natural gas from the Sempra Energy-led project.

The Singapore-flagged ship, called the Marvel Crane, arrived at the facility May 28, according to ship-tracking website MarineTraffic.com. The ship is chartered under a long-term contract to Mitsui & Co. Ltd., one of the joint owners of the Cameron LNG project. Mitsui & Co. chartered the vessel to carry LNG cargoes in its apple-shaped tanks from Cameron LNG and other facilities around the world over the coming decades.

The tankers' presence at the Louisiana facility did not guarantee it would carry the first cargo. A vessel that arrived at Cheniere Energy Inc.'s Corpus Christi terminal before the announcement of the first LNG production in November 2018 ultimately left empty after several days. The first cargo ended up leaving the export facility nearly a month after the initial LNG production.

A spokeswoman for Sempra said the company could not provide information on customers' commercial or cargo activities. "Cameron LNG's commissioning and start-up activities continue to progress and we expect Cameron LNG to export its first LNG commissioning cargo soon," Sempra spokeswoman Paty Ortega Mitchell said in an email.

Sempra announced the start of production May 14 on the first liquefaction train at Cameron LNG, marking the terminal the fourth large-scale facility in the mainland United States to become operational. President Donald Trump visited the facility on the same day and talked about America's growing energy exports.

At the time, Sempra LNG LLC COO and Cameron LNG Board Chair Lisa Glatch said the company expected to load cargoes "in the coming weeks."

The approximately $10 billion first phase of the Cameron LNG project — jointly owned by affiliates of Sempra LNG, Total SA, Mitsui & Co. and a company jointly owned by Mitsubishi Corp. and Nippon Yusen Kabushiki Kaisha — includes three liquefaction trains with an estimated total export capacity of 12 million tonnes per annum of LNG, or about 1.7 Bcf/d of gas. Sempra indirectly owns 50.2% of the project.

After Cameron LNG, two additional export terminals are expected to become operational in 2019. By early 2020, U.S. LNG export capacity stands to climb above 7 Bcf/d.

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