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Update: Corpus Christi liquefaction project

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Hydrocarbon Engineering,

Energy Department authorises LNG exports

The US Energy Department has issued a final authorisation for the Corpus Christi liquefaction project (Corpus Christi) to export domestically produced LNG to countries that do not have a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with the US. The Corpus Christi liquefaction project in Corpus Christi, Texas, is authorised to export LNG up to the equivalent of 2.1 billion ft3/d of natural gas for a period of 20 years.

The development of US natural gas resources is having a transformative impact on the US energy landscape, helping to improve our energy security while spurring economic development and job creation around the country. This increase in domestic natural gas production is expected to continue, with the Energy Information Administration forecasting a record average production rate of 72.4 billion ft3/d in 2015.

Federal law generally requires approval of natural gas exports to countries that have an FTA with the US. For countries that do not have an FTA with the US, the Natural Gas Act directs the Department of Energy to grant export authorisations unless the Department finds that the proposed exports ‘will not be consistent with the public interest’.

The Energy Department conducted an extensive, careful review of the Corpus Christi application. Among other factors, the Department considered the economic, energy security, and environmental impacts and determined that exports at a rate of up to 2.1 billion ft3/d for a period of 20 years was not inconsistent with the public interest.

Cheniere Energy commences construction work

Cheniere Energy, Inc. has announced that its Board of Directors has made a positive Final Investment Decision (FID) with respect to its liquefaction project near Corpus Christi, Texas, (CCL Project) and has issued a notice to proceed (NTP) to Bechtel Oil, Gas and Chemicals, Inc. to construct the first two natural gas liquefaction trains. The CCL Project is designed for up to three trains with expected aggregate nominal production capacity of approximately 13.5 million tpy, three LNG storage tanks with capacity of approximately 10.1 billion ft3 equivalent, two LNG carrier docks and a 22 mile, 48 in. natural gas supply pipeline. The first train is expected to start operations as early as 2018, with the second train expected to commence operations approximately six to nine months thereafter.

"We have initiated construction on our second LNG export facility, the Corpus Christi liquefaction project, located on the Coastal Bend of Texas along the Gulf of Mexico. Including our LNG export facility at Sabine Pass, we now have six trains under construction, with first LNG expected at Sabine Pass from Train 1 by year end," said Charif Souki, Chairman and CEO of Cheniere. "For these major projects, getting to the point of commencing construction represents the culmination of years of dedicated hard work by all of our employees, Bechtel, other strategic partners, and legislative and government officials. We would like to thank all for their efforts and look forward to successful project execution in Corpus Christi."

Total project costs of approximately US$11.5 billion for the first two trains, two LNG storage tanks, one dock and the natural gas supply pipeline will be funded with approximately US$3.1 billion of project equity and approximately US$8.4 billion of debt. Corpus Christi Holdings, LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Cheniere, has closed on its previously announced credit facility for the first two trains totalling approximately US$8.4 billion. Subsequent to the close of the CCL credit facility, Cheniere CCH HoldCo II, LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Cheniere, has closed on US$1.0 billion of the previously announced US$1.5 billion aggregate principal amount of 11% Senior Secured Notes due 2025 (the Convertible Notes) with EIG Management Company, LLC. The Convertible Notes, together with the CCL credit facility and an equity contribution of approximately US$500 million from Cheniere, complete the financing required to begin developing, constructing and placing into service the first two trains.

Adapted from press release by Rosalie Starling

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