First Liquefied Natural Gas Export Headed to Brazil

Sabine Pass LNG
Sabine Pass LNG
Sabine Pass LNG Terminal, photo courtesy of Cheniere.

Cheniere Energy expects the first-ever liquefied natural gas (LNG) export from the lower 48 U.S. states will depart the company’s Sabine Pass terminal in Louisiana today. The ship is headed to Petrobas, in Brazil. Cheniere has six LNG vessels under contract, and will use them to continue exporting gas in the coming weeks and months following approval from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). Noting the significance of today’s event, Neal Shear, Cheniere Partners’ Chairman of the Board and Interim Chief Executive Officer said via a news release:

This historic event opens a new chapter for the country in energy trade and is a significant milestone for Cheniere as we prepare . . . for commercial operations.

Speaking about the international implications of the U.S. exporting natural gas, the State Department’s Bureau of Energy Resources tweeted:

By diversifying global LNG supplies and increasing LNG volumes globally U.S. LNG exports improve global energy security.

It was only about 10 years ago that natural gas was so scarce and costly in America that facilities such as Sabine Pass were intended to import natural gas. Henry Hub prices exceeded $13/MMBtu in late 2005 and nearly reached that level again in mid-2008 before beginning the sustained decline to the current price of around $2/MMBtu. Today’s shipment is a clear sign that the economics have, indeed, changed completely.

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