The first shipment of LNG completed loading and departed the Calcasieu Pass LNG export facility in Cameron, Louisiana. The introduction of the facility, which when fully operational will have an annual capacity of 10 million tons, is a year ahead of the official schedule and comes at a critical time for the supply of LNG. Natural gas was already in high demand and with the prospects that Russia’s supply of natural gas to Europe could be interrupted, U.S. suppliers are expected to benefit with forecasts that the U.S. could become the largest exporter of LNG in 2022.

After spending three weeks at the terminal, the Yiannis, a newly built Greek registered LNG carrier became the first vessel to depart the terminal overnight on March 1. The 92,964 dwt vessel is chartered by JERA Global Markets, a trading subsidiary of Japan’s JERA Co. The vessel has a capacity of 170,799 cubic meters LNG.

“This historic and proud moment for our company represents the culmination of many years of relentless efforts by our team to innovate, design, construct and now deliver low-cost, clean LNG to our customers,” said Mike Sabel, CEO of Venture Global LNG, developer of the terminal. “Venture Global has successfully pioneered a new way of developing LNG projects that will result in the supply of low-cost, abundant, and affordable energy to people around the world, while also driving fuel switching from coal to natural gas.”

The project received its permitting in 2019 with the company making the final decision to proceed with the project at the end of the year. The site which encompasses more than 1,000 acres has more than a mile of deep-water frontage and the ability to handle two vessels at the same time. There are two 200,000 cubic meter full containment LNG storage tanks.

According to Venture Global, Calcasieu Pass now holds the record for the fastest large-scale greenfield LNG facility to ever be built, moving from FID to LNG production in just 29 months. It is also one of the first greenfield LNG export projects to ever be constructed in the United States. 

“We are delighted to receive the first cargo from the Calcasieu Pass LNG project, which has great significance for easing the supply-demand balance of LNG amid the tight global market situation,” said Kazunori Kasai, CEO of JERA Global Markets. “Based on a supply agreement with Venture Global Calcasieu Pass, JERA Global Markets is pleased to support Venture Global and receive LNG cargos from this innovative project, which provides the industry with an exciting new model for LNG liquefaction.”

JERA, while not one of the originally designated customers for the facility, has indicated that it expects to grow its role in the global LNG markets. JERA acquired a stake in another Texas LNG project late in 2021. The cargo loaded aboard the vessel could be destined to Japan or JERA also has terminal access in France. Currently, the vessel is laying offshore with its AIS reporting that it is awaiting orders. JERA is likely bidding the cargo but in the past vessels have altered course even after starting their voyages based on market demand. 

About half of the output from Calcasieu Pass will be sold to Chinese state-owned enterprises, including 1.5 MTPA for CNOOC and 3.5 MTPA for Sinopec. Venture Global has been moving quickly to develop its position as a low-cost provider of U.S. LNG to be sourced from resource rich North American natural gas basins. Venture Global is currently constructing or developing 70 MTPA of production capacity in Louisiana with a total of four terminals. In December 2021, Venture Global announced plans to spend $10 billion on a new LNG export terminal that will also be located in Louisiana.

Source: The Maritime Executive