5 LNG Export Projects Investors Should Know About
Last year, the United States became a net exporter of natural gas for the first time since 1957. Although 77% of exports traveled through pipelines, that’s down from 98% in 2012. The rest came from liquefied natural gas (LNG) shipped on specialized ocean tankers. The nation exited 2017 with three LNG export terminals boasting a combined capacity of 3 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d). That’s a pretty big number, but it will seem laughably small in a decade or so.
If investors add up all LNG export facilities that have been approved by (12, including three that are operating) and proposed to (14) American energy regulators, then they arrive at a combined LNG export capacity of 44.2 Bcf/d. Some may never get built. Those that do may not enter service for another decade or more. Either way, it shows the incredible potential of the fledgling American LNG industry.
I understand that 44.2 Bcf/d is almost so large it doesn’t make sense, but investors looking to gain a foothold in the up-and-coming industry shouldn’t feel overwhelmed. Here are five LNG export projects energy investors should know about.
Kicking off the export bonanza
Cheniere Energy (NYSEMKT:LNG) was the first company to make a bold bet on the potential for the United States to export large volumes of excess natural gas. It was risky, but it’s paid off in spades. The business posted $3.8 billion in revenue and over $1 billion in operating income in the first half of 2018 — and that’s all from a single — albeit massive — facility.
In 2016, Sabine Pass became the first new major LNG export terminal in the country. It wields a capacity of 2.8 Bcf/d, although approved expansion projects will add 1.4 Bcf/d. No other approved or proposed facility matches that combined volume, but the list of projects expected to come on line by the end of 2019 includes a few other monsters dotting the Gulf Coast. That includes Corpus Christi, the second facility of Cheniere Energy.
While there are also LNG export terminals currently or soon-to-be operating at Elba Island (Kinder Morgan, Southern Company), Cove Point (Dominion Energy), and Kenai (ConocoPhillips), they have a combined export capacity of 1.3 Bcf/d. They’re just not going to be big needle-movers for their owners, individual investors included.