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Venture Global LNG wants US regulators to approve by the end of May the start of construction on two storage tanks that will serve its Calcasieu Pass LNG export terminal in Louisiana.
The 10 million mt/year facility in Cameron Parish is among a dozen or so projects that are part of a second wave of US liquefaction capacity and aim to feed global demand starting in the early- to mid-2020s.
The developer, which has also proposed a second export terminal south of New Orleans that would have a capacity of 20 million mt/year, has been the most successful among this batch of projects in terms of securing long-term offtake contracts with buyers of the LNG it plans to produce. Its offtakers include Shell, Italy's Edison, Portugal's Galp, BP, Spain's Repsol and Poland's PGNiG.
While an executive has told S&P Global Platts that the company made a positive final investment decision internally, Venture Global has yet to disclose whether it has obtained sufficient financing for full construction of Calcasieu Pass. No current overall cost has been revealed, though in 2014 and 2015 it had estimated the terminal and an affiliated pipeline would cost $4.5 billion. It has a contractor, Kiewit, but analysts have questioned whether its agreement protects it against cost overruns.
Since being granted US Federal Energy Regulatory Commission approval in February to build Calcasieu Pass, Venture Global has been conducting site preparation activities to get the land ready for full construction.
In a letter to the agency late Thursday, the developer said it has satisfied the environmental conditions necessary for it to begin LNG storage tank construction. It said it was seeking authorization by May 31 for that work.
In addition to two storage tanks, each with a usable capacity of about 200,000 cu m, the full scope of the project includes liquefaction facilities, a 720-MW electricity generation plant, a marine terminal and LNG carrier berths, piping, transfer lines and other infrastructure. Also planned is a 23.4-mile, 42-inch-diameter feedgas pipeline.
Despite the lingering financing questions, the developer - when it has addressed the project with the market - has presented a full steam ahead posture, and even expressed an eye toward expansion.
In March, Venture Global said it was interested in doubling the capacity of its US export business, from the current 30 million mt/year across its two planned Louisiana terminals, to 60 million mt/year. It reiterated at the time that it expects to begin construction on the Plaquemines Parish facility later this year.
At public appearances, executives have declined to discuss the pricing of the liquefaction fee Venture Global is charging the customers that it has secured thus far, but they have indicated the fee has been highly competitive.
-- Harry Weber, Harry.Weber@spglobal.com
-- Edited by Keiron Greenhalgh, email@example.com