What happened

Shares of Tellurian (TELL 3.58%), which operates in the U.S. energy sector, exploded higher in the first half-hour of trading on Thursday, gaining just over 22% at one point in early trading. There's no question about what got investors so enthusiastic here, as the company announced a major contract today.

So what

One of the biggest themes with Tellurian is that it is building energy infrastructure, including a natural gas pipeline and a liquified natural gas export facility. Both will be operated under the name Driftwood. These are big and expensive projects that will take a fairly long time to complete, and the company is still in the early stages of the process.

While management is working on that task, however, it has also been looking to ink deals with potential customers so it can lock in future revenue. That was the big news today, as Tellurian agreed to a 10-year deal to supply energy trader Vitol with LNG from the proposed Driftwood LNG export facility. The contract is projected to generate as much as $12 billion in revenue over its life.   

A person in protective gear in front of pipeline infrastructure.

Image source: Getty Images.

This is actually the second deal that Tellurian has signed so far in 2021. It signed a similarly sized deal with Gunvor Singapore in late May. The really important takeaway here is that Tellurian's LNG facility has customers ready to start taking deliveries once it is done. This is a pretty big deal, given that these contracts both validate the project and ensure that the company can actually live up to the financial commitments related to it.

That, in turn, should make finding funding for construction a lot easier. Investors appear justified in their enthusiasm today.   

Now what

Tellurian's stock is up over 300% so far in 2021 and has more than doubled over the past month or so. The recent gains aren't shocking given the contract wins noted above. That said, there's still a lot more work to be done before the Driftwood LNG facility is up and running.

More-conservative investors will probably want to wait and see before jumping aboard here, given that the development process is still in its early stages. More-aggressive types, however, could find that Tellurian stock, while likely to be volatile, is starting to look increasingly attractive.