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LNG developer Tellurian gets $50M investment from contractor Bechtel

Tellurian Inc. sold a $50 million preferred equity stake to an affiliate of Bechtel Oil, Gas and Chemicals Inc., the contractor for Tellurian's under-development Driftwood LNG export venture.

Tellurian announced the investment, valued at $8.16 a share, on March 21. Bechtel is now the third major outside investor in Tellurian. GE Oil & Gas gave the then-private Tellurian Investments $25 million in November 2016, and oil and gas major Total SA followed with a $207 million investment less than a month later.

Tellurian, co-founded by Cheniere Energy Inc. founder and ex-CEO Charif Souki, is developing the proposed 27.6 million-tonne-per-annum Driftwood liquefaction and export terminal in southwest Louisiana, as well as three pipelines that would help carry gas to feed the facility. The company in November 2017 entered into a fixed price agreement with Bechtel for the engineering, procurement and construction of the liquefaction project, which is estimated to cost $15.2 billion.

Bechtel has also served as the contractor for Cheniere's Sabine Pass and Corpus Christi LNG export projects. Tellurian CEO Meg Gentle, another former Cheniere executive, said the company's management has now teamed up with Bechtel for a combined 55 mtpa of liquefaction capacity. "We are fortunate to have such strong strategic partners including Bechtel, GE and Total and look forward to breaking ground at Driftwood LNG in 2019," she said.

Tellurian is seeking project equity investors in subsidiary Driftwood Holdings for $1,500 per tonne to cover the cost of building the Driftwood LNG export project. The company says their model answers buyers' demands for more flexible contract terms while freeing the developer of the need to satisfy lenders who want to see guaranteed cash flows over two decades.

In addition to the liquefaction terminal, the Driftwood Holdings investment would also include the construction of the Haynesville Global Access Pipeline, a 200-mile pipeline that would carry 2 Bcf/d of natural gas from the Haynesville Shale to southwest Louisiana, and the Driftwood Pipeline, a 4-Bcf/d line that would directly feed the LNG terminal. The 2-Bcf/d Permian Global Access Pipeline, which would run from the Waha Hub in Pecos County, Texas, to Gillis, La., is not under Driftwood Holdings, though the company has indicated that could change.