What's Ahead for U.S. LNG Trade?


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The oil and natural gas sectors have been reeling from the COVID-19 pandemic and its devastating impact on demand for fuels, and that includes liquefied natural gas. U.S. LNG exports fell from a record high of 8 billion cubic feet a day in January to 3.1 BCF a day in July, prompting some new projects to postpone final investment decisions.

Among them was Tellurian, a Houston-based company co-founded in 2016 by a U.S. LNG pioneer, Charif Souki.

In this episode of Columbia Energy Exchange, host Bill Loveless is joined by Charif to get his take on this latest challenge for the U.S. LNG sector. After all, he’s seen this business grow from the start, having founded Cheniere Energy, the largest U.S. LNG exporter, back in 1996, before moving on to Tellurian.

Bill and Charif talked about the circumstances leading to the decline in LNG trade this year and the outlook for a recovery. Interestingly, Charif acknowledged that he’s been surprised by some developments.

They also touched on the fundamental changes in LNG trade, especially involving how the commodity is priced now, as well as on the implications for LNG of the closer scrutiny that natural gas is getting because of its greenhouse gas emissions.

Tellurian’s proposed Driftwood LNG project near Lake Charles, Louisiana, would cost more than $27 billion, including pipelines to deliver natural gas to the export facility. The project has all the required permitting to begin construction, but Tellurian has put off a final investment decision until 2021 in light of the market turmoil this year.

Charif is the executive chairman of Tellurian’s board. He also serves on the advisory board of the Center on Global Energy Policy. He received a B.A. from Colgate University and an MBA from Columbia.

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