LNG industry rebounding from pandemic

Industry analysts were raising concerns about a glut of liquefied natural gas coming onto global markets when the coronavirus pandemic hit in early 2020. As national economies shut down and energy demand plummeted, the future of the industry and multibillion-dollar LNG export terminals along the Gulf Coast looked grim.

A year later, however, LNG has bounced back, recovering faster than the oil industry and resuming its expansion, The Houston Chronicle reports. The Houston LNG company Cheniere Energy recently completed its third processing unit at its Corpus Christi, Texas, complex while moving ahead with the construction of a sixth unit, scheduled for completion next year, at its Sabine Pass facilities in Louisiana.

The Virginia company Venture Global told U.S. regulators last month that its Calcasieu Pass in Cameron Parish could ship its first cargo in late 2021. Sempra Energy, which also operates an LNG export terminal in Cameron Parish, is moving forward with the development of another LNG complex in Port Arthur, Texas.

“Basically,” says Jordan McNiven, an analyst at investment bank Tudor Pickering & Co., “the industry has fully recovered.”

The LNG industry has proved itself resilient, not only navigating the pandemic year, but also a record hurricane season that sent 11 named storms barreling into the Gulf of Mexico—among them: Hurricane Laura.

The Category 4 storm on August 27 hit near Cheniere’s Sabine Pass facilities in Cameron Parish, forcing it to shut down operations on Aug. 25, and Sempra’s $10 billion Cameron LNG terminal south of Lake Charles, which stopped operations on Aug. 26. Gas deliveries fell as low as about 2.1 billion cubic feet per day, the lowest level since February 2019, according to the research firm S&P Global Platts. Read the full story, which delves into some of the challenges facing the LNG industry long term.

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