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Tellurian CEO departs as US LNG developer struggles to advance Driftwood project

Highlights

Meg Gentle had been at helm since 2016

Industry veteran Simoes named as replacement

Houston — Tellurian CEO Meg Gentle has departed the US LNG export developer and been replaced, the company said Nov. 30, as it struggles to secure sufficient commercial support to sanction its proposed Driftwood LNG terminal in Louisiana.

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It was not immediately clear why Gentle, who had been at the helm since August 2016, stepped down. She also left Tellurian's board of directors. A spokeswoman did not immediately respond to a message seeking comment. A message left with Gentle also was not immediately answered.

The decision was mutually agreed to with the company on Nov. 29, effective immediately, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Octavio Simoes, an industry veteran and Tellurian LNG marketing chief since September, was tapped to replace Gentle as CEO.

At full development of 27.6 million mt/year, about half Driftwood's capacity was expected to be used by equity investment partners Tellurian has been soliciting. The remaining capacity is to be retained by Tellurian to market on its own.

To date, however, only France's Total has made a firm commitment to support the project -- a $500 million investment signed in 2019. India's Petronet has been in talks with Tellurian about making an investment in Driftwood, though it was unclear whether a firm deal would be signed before the end of December to meet a previous deadline set by the companies.

Gentle was Cheniere Energy's marketing chief before joining Tellurian as CEO. She helped the US LNG pioneer launch its first export terminal at Sabine Pass in Louisiana and had hoped to do the same for Tellurian at Driftwood.

Simoes joined Tellurian as a senior adviser to the CEO in April 2019. Prior to joining Tellurian, he was president and CEO of Sempra Energy's LNG unit for seven years.

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