Poland's state-controlled gas importer PGNiG has agreed to buy more LNG from US supplier Venture Global LNG, which is building an export facility in Louisiana and has proposed three others, while it has separately terminated an offtake deal with Sempra that was tied to a delayed liquefaction project in Texas.
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PGNiG, based on a new preliminary agreement, may in the future tap other facilities in Sempra's North American portfolio, which includes an LNG terminal in operation in Louisiana, a proposed expansion of that terminal and an under-construction liquefaction terminal in Mexico.
The flurry of activity announced July 27 reflects the shifting market dynamics amid strong prices in end-user markets.
After a two-year lull in new firm commercial deals for most US developers of new liquefaction terminals, activity has started to pick up in recent months for some of them, while others have continued to face challenges amid questions about project timing, costs and uncertainty about the impact of the global energy transition. Buyers have been pushing for better terms and seeking out the most competitive and flexible supply options.
PGNiG is looking at US LNG to help meet increased gas demand in Poland as well as to eliminate the need for Russian pipeline gas imports.
It said in a statement that it has agreed to buy a further 2 million mt/year of LNG from Venture Global, bringing its total contracted volume with the company to 5.5 million mt/year.
At the same time, PGNiG said it terminated a supply deal for 2 million mt/year of LNG from Sempra's proposed 11 million mt/year Port Arthur LNG export facility citing project delays. In June, Sempra disclosed that efforts to finalize a long-term deal with Saudi Aramco to support the Port Arthur project had fallen through. The termination of the PGNiG deal, signed in 2018, means Sempra currently has no firm offtake agreements tied to Port Arthur LNG.
In its statement, Sempra said it has signed a new memorandum of understanding with PGNiG for the potential purchase of 2 million mt/year from Sempra's North American LNG portfolio. The new agreement is preliminary and not binding. Neither company said what terminal or terminals the agreement might be tied to, though Sempra has said previously that a proposed expansion at its Cameron LNG terminal in Louisiana has taken on a higher priority in the near-term than the Port Arthur LNG project.
In May, Sempra said it would likely further delay a final investment decision on the Port Arthur LNG project to 2022, as it continued to face commercial challenges.
"LNG plays a vital role in PGNiG's strategy -- it is a key component of our supply portfolio diversification and the plan to reinforce the energy security of our customers," PGNiG chief commercial officer Pawel Majewski said in his company's statement.
Majewski said the MOU allowed for "shifting the volumes originally contracted at Port Arthur LNG to other facilities from Sempra LNG's projects portfolio." As part of the MOU, Sempra and PGNiG said they would also work toward a framework for the reporting, mitigation and reduction of greenhouse gas emissions throughout the LNG value chain.
As for Venture Global, PGNiG signed a firm agreement to purchase another 2 million mt/year of LNG for 20 years, increasing its offtake commitments to Venture Global's under-construction Calcasieu Pass export terminal in Louisiana and its proposed Plaquemines LNG facility, also in Louisiana, to 5.5 million mt/year. Venture Global has also proposed two other liquefaction facilities.
Instead of 1 million mt/year, PGNiG intends to purchase 1.5 million mt/year from Calcasieu Pass, while the Plaquemines LNG contracted volume is to be increased from 2.5 million mt/year to 4 million mt/year. Calcasieu Pass could begin producing LNG later this year, while Plaquemines LNG has not yet been formally sanctioned.
The agreements are on a free on board basis and commercial deliveries from Calcasieu Pass are expected in early 2023.
Besides Venture Global, other US exporters and developers that have had success signing new firm LNG supply deals over the 18 months include Cheniere, the biggest US LNG exporter, and Tellurian, developer of the proposed Driftwood LNG facility in Louisiana. Some US project developers, meanwhile, have delayed, paused or scrapped projects.
During a podcast posted on Tellurian's website July 27, Executive Chairman Charif Souki said he believes there will be enough commercial support for LNG projects with the most competitive pricing and right mix of optionality.
"The arbitrage is always there, the fundamentals are extremely strong, the demand for our product is critical, and the world is starting to recognize it," Souki said.
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