Photo: Courtesy of Venture Global LNG

Calcasieu Pass LNG project ahead of schedule, CEO says

U.S. liquefied natural gas export project developer Venture Global LNG has revealed that the construction of its Calcasieu Pass LNG export terminal was ahead of schedule.

Chief executive officer (CEO) of Venture Global Mike Sabel told Bloomberg that six of 18 production units at the Calcasieu Pass plant in Louisiana would be installed by mid-February. Commercial operations are expected in 2022.

He added that Venture Global’s modular approach to construction allowed Calcasieu Pass to proceed ahead of schedule despite the pandemic and a hyperactive hurricane season.

The plant’s production trains are made at a Baker Hughes facility in Italy and shipped to Louisiana for installation. Two of the pre-built trains have already been installed at the site and two more are on the way. The modular method lowered construction costs by 40 per cent and proved to be a “massive mitigation to construction risk” during hurricane season, Sabel said.

The company plans to use the same approach for its proposed Plaquemines LNG export terminal. With a planned capacity of 20 million metric tons of LNG, the project will be twice the size of Calcasieu Pass and will be split into two phases. Electricite de France SA and Poland’s PGNiG already have long-term agreements to buy a combined 40 per cent of the Plaquemines project’s first phase. According to Sabel, the first phase of Plaquemines LNG will be fully contracted by the end of June.

But the company is not without competition, even as some rival projects remain stalled. About a dozen projects hold permits for LNG export terminals along the U.S. Gulf Coast and are vying for contracts with the same pool of overseas buyers.

Venture Global has said it will make a final investment decision on Plaquemines in 2021, pushed back from a previous estimate of late 2020.

Still, Sabel claims that global LNG demand is already bouncing back and will surge after the pandemic ends and is certain that buyers would choose Venture Global’s low-cost projects over competitors.