Cheniere Energy, the largest U.S. liquefied natural gas (LNG) exporter, announced plans to construct a new pipeline to link its Louisiana expansion project to other pipelines in major shale-gas producing regions to mitigate risks and ensure a stable supply of natural gas.
According to a Reuters news report, Cheniere's Sabine Pass facility has been steadily expanding since it commenced production in 2016. However, to achieve its envisioned "Stage 5" capacity, the company's top officials state that additional natural gas supply beyond current levels is required.
"We will likely build a pipeline to where we can access other pipelines. That will get us Haynesville (shale gas), any additional Marcellus (gas) that will come down, mid-continent, Permian, as well as Eagleford as it continues to be developed," Corey Grindal, Cheniere's chief operating officer, revealed during a press conference last week.
Previously, Cheniere modified its pipeline infrastructure to direct gas to its facility in Louisiana. However, these pipelines are now under additional demand and are no longer available, according to Grindal.
The company currently expends $800 million annually in pipeline transit fees, transporting 7.5 billion cubic feet per day (bcfd) of natural gas from 26 different pipelines to its LNG plants in Texas and Louisiana, as CEO Jack Fusco confirmed in an interview with reporters at an LNG conference in Vancouver. Fusco did not provide specifics regarding the cost or size of the new pipeline.
Oren Pilant, a pipeline analyst with midstream industry experts East Daley Analytics, opined that the project likely necessitates a small header system to consolidate gas from multiple lines.
"The expansion is adjacent to their existing Sabine Pass facility and would be supplied by a combination of new and existing pipes," Pilant said.
Cheniere disclosed on its website that the new project is designed to produce up to 20 million tonnes of LNG per annum (MTPA) but has yet to secure funding.
According to the company, proposed LNG and gas pipeline projects in the Gulf Coast region have not encountered the same level of environmental opposition as elsewhere and are expected to receive approval, as Alex Gafford, a capital markets analyst at East Daley Analytics affirmed.