This was a big week for LNG news as three separate projects moved one step closer to exporting LNG. Each announcement signaled to investors that there is a growing certainty that these projects will indeed commence operations. Let's take a closer look at the LNG news investors need to know.
Cameron LNG receives final approval
Sempra Energy (NYSE:SRE) announced that it has received final authorization from the U.S. Department of Energy to export domestically produced LNG from its proposed liquefaction facility in Louisiana to countries that do not have a free-trade agreement with the U.S. This is important news to investors in Sempra Energy because it marks the last major regulatory hurdle for the company's Cameron LNG export project.
Sempra Energy noted in its press release that with this final authorization along with the previous permit granted by FERC that the company remains on schedule to commence operations in 2018. That's a pretty big deal as the company is counting on Cameron LNG to push its earnings growth from 8%-10% through 2018 to 9%-11% through 2019. Further, its latest LNG news makes it all the more likely that Sempra Energy's future really could be fueled by LNG.
Alaska LNG moves one step closer to LNG exports
A joint effort by ExxonMobil Corporation (NYSE:XOM), ConocoPhillips (NYSE:COP), BP plc (NYSE:BP), TransCanada Corporation (NYSE:TRP), and the state of Alaska moved one step closer to LNG exports this week as well. The consortium's latest LNG news was the fact that it submitted a formal request to FERC to start an environmental review for siting, design and permitting for construction.
While the project is still well behind Cameron LNG, it's an important next step for the massive $45 billion-$55 billion LNG project. If built Alaska LNG could export as much as 20 million metric tons of LNG per year. That's nearly twice Cameron LNG's figure, which is expected to have export capacity of 12 million tonnes per year.
Aside from the larger size the project does have a couple of additional competitive advantages over Cameron LNG and other LNG projects. Topping the list is the fact that the U.S. Department of Energy already plans on streamlining the project's application to export natural gas by exempting it from a new rule. One of the reasons for this is that Alaska is sitting on a simply enormous natural gas resource that is basically landlocked, so LNG exports are really the only way the state can monetize its natural gas.
Freeport LNG locks up its natural gas supply
Not every LNG project has a ready supply of natural gas like Alaska LNG. Because of this, prospective LNG projects need to source natural gas from the supply chain and get that gas to the LNG facility. Freeport LNG is one step closer to crossing that off its list.
Freeport LNG's midstream partner Boardwalk Pipeline Partners LP (NYSE:BWP) announced that it had entered into 20-year firm agreements with foundation shippers. The shippers signed on to transport 1.4 billion cubic feet per day of natural gas, which will serve the first two trains of Freeport LNG's planned liquefaction terminal. While Boardwalk Pipeline Partners is currently holding an open season for additional shippers, it is off to a strong start. It's also very good news for Boardwalk Pipeline Partners investors as the company sees its ability to supply natural gas for LNG export facilities being an important future driver of its business, as noted on the following slide.
Aside from securing its supplies of natural gas, Freeport LNG still has a few more items to accomplish before it's built. The project still needs to receive FERC's authorization to construct the project, which it anticipates receiving in the near future. Once final approval is granted the companies behind the project can make a final investment decision. Assuming that happens, the project should start exporting LNG in 2018.
With so many LNG export projects in the works it can be tough for investors to keep up with all of the LNG news as well as what it means to their investments. The good news is that the latest round of news involving Cameron LNG, Freeport LNG, and Alaska LNG has been positive for investors. Given the profit potential of these projects for all the companies involved, the hope is that the good news continues to flow.
Matt DiLallo owns shares of ConocoPhillips. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.