Sabine Liquefaction, a subsidary of Cheniere Energy Partners, L.P, has entered into a liqufied natural gas (LNG) sale and purchase agreement with their sixth customer, Centrica. Centrica serves over 11 million households in Britain. The agreement allows Centrica to purchase 91,250,000 MMBtu of LNG volumes per year for twenty years.
Sabine Liquefaction is developing six liquefaction trains and has already begun construction on the first two. They expect to start construction on the third and fourth trains in the first half of 2013 and the permitting process and preliminary engineering have been initiated for the fifth and sixth trains. After all six trains are completed, the Sabine Pass will be able to ship out approximately 4 billion cubic feet of gas per day.
A liquefaction train is what an LNG plant uses to compress natural gas into a liquefied state. The gas is first refined to remove any impurities and is then cooled down to approximately -160 degrees celcius for shipping.
Cheniere isn’t the only US company to have signed long-term agreements with major LNG buyers and recent indications point to several more long-term contracts being announced in the near future. What was just a possibility last year has become a reality in 2013.
As natural gas becomes a world commodity, supply will decrease for the United States as demand increases in places like China and Japan where costs are significantly higher. This could provide upward pressure on domestic gas rates and once natural gas prices reach $4.50 – $5.00, coal and other fuel sources can become attractive electricity generation options again – potentially causing electricity rates to rise.
Below is a snapshot of current global natural gas prices. Courtesy of FERC.