Cheniere Initiates Permit Process for Key Sabine Pass Project Expansion

(Reuters) — Cheniere Energy Inc. on Thursday initiated an expansion permit process of LNG export capacity at its key Sabine Pass plant in Louisiana after the exporter topped revenue estimate on strong demand following Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

The Sabine Pass stage 5 plant is being designed for an LNG production capacity of about 20 million tonnes per annum.

Cheniere, the largest U.S. LNG exporter, said the company and its units have started the pre-filing review process with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission under the National Environmental Policy Act.

Shares of the company rose 1.6% to $150.24 in premarket trade.

Demand for U.S. LNG soared last year as Europe required vast amounts of gas to reduce its reliance on Russia imports, which used to make up nearly 40% of its supplies, following the restrictions on the country due to the Ukraine war.

In 2022, U.S. exports of natural gas as LNG rose 8% to 10.6 Bcf/d (billion cubic feet per day), just shy of Australia's 10.7 Bcf/d. The United States remained ahead of Qatar, which in the third place had shipped 10.5 Bcf/d, according to data provider Refinitiv.

Those exports were key to helping Europe rebuild its gas stockpiles after Russia's invasion disrupted supplies. U.S. supplies will be more important this year with Russian deliveries to Europe largely cut.

The company's net attributable profit to stockholders for 2022 stood at $1.43 billion or $5.64 per share, versus a loss of $2.34 billion or $9.25 per share in the year-ago period.

The Texas-based company said its total revenue more than doubled to $33.43 billion for the year ended Dec. 31, trouncing analysts' estimate of $32.7 billion, as per Refinitiv data. Cheniere had posted revenue worth $15.86 billion a year earlier.

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