U.S. biggest LNG exporter Cheniere raises earnings guidance; Freeport LNG advances work to resume operations; Venture Global readies new project; Dow promotes silicones products; Braskem to give $150 million for innovation startups

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Image courtesy of Cameron LNG

U.S. biggest LNG exporter Cheniere raises earnings guidance

Houston-based Cheniere Energy, the biggest LNG producer in the U.S., said on Sept. 12 it “reached a new cash flow inflection point” and will earn more in 2022 than it had previously projected,  in part due to bigger margins.

Cheniere is raising its full year 2022 guidance “due primarily to a change in the expected timing of several cargoes accelerating into 2022 which were previously forecast for 2023, as well as sustained higher margins on LNG throughout 2022.”

“We expect to generate over $20 billion of available cash through 2026,” said Zach Davis, Cheniere’s executive vice president and CFO.

As of July 2022 the U.S. has the biggest LNG exporting capacity of any country, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA). Total U.S. LNG exports averaged 11.1 billion cubic feet per day during the first half of 2022.

Freeport LNG working on resuming operations

Freeport LNG announced on Aug. 23 it completed an assessment of alternatives for resuming operations at its liquefaction facility following an explosion on June 8th.

“It is anticipated that initial production can commence in early to mid-November, and ramp up to a sustained level of at least 2 Bcf per day by the end of November, representing over 85% of the export capacity of the facility,” the company said in late August.

The facility will run at full capacity by March 2023, Freeport said.

Venture Global readies new project

U.S.-based LNG producer and exporter Venture Global announced a $13-billion project named Plaquemine LNG that will follow the Calcasieu Pass facility that was completed at the start of 2022.

Venture announced “a final investment decision (FID) and the successful closing of the $13.2 billion project financing for the initial phase (an upsized 13.33 MTPA) of the Plaquemines LNG facility and the associated Gator Express pipeline.”

This transaction represented “the largest project financing in the world closed to date in 2022,” it said.  

It is “the first LNG project located in the U.S. to reach financial close since Venture Global’s Calcasieu Pass facility in Aug. 2019,” Venture said. 

“Plaquemines (…) has attracted robust financial and commercial support which has enabled us to formally sanction this project at a critical moment for energy markets,” said Mike Sabel, CEO of Venture Global LNG.

The company also reported 20-year sales and purchase agreements for 80% of the full 20 million tonnes per year project. Initial customers include PGNiG, Sinopec, CNOOC, Shell and EDF later expanding the list to also include ExxonMobil, PETRONAS and New Fortress Energy. 

Calcasieu Pass LNG is the seventh, and most recently announced, U.S. LNG export project. In addition to Golden Pass LNG, which started construction in 2019, two more projects on the U.S. Gulf Coast have seen the start of construction, according to a recent EIA report.

Former Peru LNG manager named president of Cameron LNG

Whitney Fairbanks, formerly in charge of Peru LNG operations in Pampa Melchorita, department of Ica, Peru, was named earlier this year president of Cameron LNG.

Fairbanks had spent a decade at Hunt Oil Co, where he managed Peru LNG operations consisting of 4.4 million tonner per year LNG facility, Cameron LNG reported.

Fairbanks previously held positions at Hunt Oil including as vice president for strategy and planning.

The Cameron LNG liquefaction export project in Hackberry, Louisiana, started full commercial operations in August 2020. By March 2022, that facility had exported more than 351 cargoes of U.S. natural gas to 29 countries worldwide.

Shell bought 20% equity in the Peru LNG plant and "100% offtake" in 2014 from Spain-based Repsol.

Dow offers silicones products for EVs in September battery fair

Midland, Michigan-based Dow offered its silicones products in an EV battery fair in the U.S. Midwest in September and described its silicones portfolio. The division managing silicones has shown good results in at least two recent quarters.

Products include “material for battery pack assembly, battery fire protection, assembly and protection of battery management systems or power electronic devices,” said Brian Russell, market manager for Dow Performance Silicones.

Silicones products made by Dow also include a “soft thermally conductive silicone gap filler designed to dissipate heat and relieve stress between the battery modules and the cooling plate to prevent thermal events.”

Other examples are the “electrically conductive adhesive for grounding, bonding and electromagnetic shielding applications.”

Products like the Voratron “enable protection for both individual cylindrical cells and the entire battery in the case of a thermal event,” according to Dow.

These low-density foam pottants help reduce weight in vehicles and “are designed to offer fire protection, vibration absorption, thermal insulation and structure to the battery and cells,” it said.

Dow’s complete portfolio of silicone products just for battery fire protection include encapsulants, silicone foam sheets, fire-resistant rubbers and gaskets.

Silicones have been contributing strongly to Dow´s results. Dow´s top official said part of the growth is that silicones are finding multiple uses not just in relation to EVs but also for example replacing polycarbonates in automotive headlights.

Braskem to give $150 million to innovation startups as it aligns with ESG objectives

Sao Paulo-based Braskem, Latin America´s biggest petrochemical company and the biggest North American polypropylene producer, said on Sept. 19 that it has created Oxygea, a subsidiary that will channel $150 million to startups for innovation in a launching aligned with ESG objectives.

Braskem will use the funds to finance efforts related to sustainability and digital transformation over the next five years, the company said in a notice to investors.

Oxygea´s work will be split in two initiatives: Venture Builder for new businesses, including those within Braskem, and Venture Capital, for more mature startups.

“That launching is aligned with ESG (Environment, Social, Governance) criteria for 2030 and 2050 seeking to innovate with sustainable solutions,” Braskem said.

On Sept. 15 Braskem had separately announced the creation of Voqen Energia, another subsidiary, this time to speed up energy transition efforts.

The Brazilian company has said it wants to slash net carbon emissions by 15% by 2030, and then become carbon neutral by 2050.

By Reuters Events Downstream