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Cheniere’s Corpus Christi Expansion

Read Time: 3 mins

Cheniere Energy has launched another expansion of its liquefied natural gas complex, the first in what is likely a series of expansion projects as the Houston company positions itself to exploit soaring demand for natural gas in Europe, Asia and other overseas markets.

Jack Fusco, Cheniere CEO, on Tuesday, October 3 said: “The $8 billion “Stage 3” expansion project will add seven production units to the facility, increasing the gas plant’s capacity to 25 million metric tons per year and bring the company’s investment at the site to more than $25 billion.”

The project is expected to come online in 2025.

Behind Fusco, heavy machinery screeched and beeped as operators stabilized the ground, preparing it to handle one million feet of pipe and 40,000 tons of steel. The expansion will add 100 jobs to the site, the company said.

Cheniere began operations at Corpus Christi in 2019 and has steadily grown there.

Customers have already committed to buy all the LNG produced by the Stage 3 project, and Cheniere has already begun selling contracts for a subsequent expansion that will increase Corpus Christi LNG’s capacity to roughly 30 million metric tons a year — double its current capacity.

Fusco told a small crowd gathered for the ground-breaking ceremony that the increased LNG production will come “at a time when the world really needs us desperately.”

As he spoke, a tanker likely bound for Europe was loading LNG. Fusco said that one ship carries enough gas to heat one million European households for one month, noting more than 70 percent of its cargoes have gone to Europe since Russia invaded Ukraine in February.

While demand for natural gas is soaring in Europe in the near-term, Cheniere is staking its long-term growth on Asia, where countries are turning to natural gas to replace dirtier, carbon-intensive energy such as coal and fuel oil.

Anatol Feygin, Cheniere’s chief operating officer, said: “Some European LNG buyers remain hesitant to sign decades-long contracts to buy a fossil fuel about which European nations, moving toward net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, have mixed feelings.

“We’re of the view that LNG is a critical part of the energy transition. But certain actors in Europe have slightly different views and think that gas will be phased out earlier.

“As such, at times they’re not willing to make as long a commitment as our friends in China, for example.”

The company recently signed a 24-year deal with China’s state-owned oil and gas company, PetroChina, bringing its deliveries to PetroChina to around three million metric tons per year through 2050.

Cheniere has the capacity to export 45 million metric tons per year, which the company aims to double to 90 million metric tons sometime in the future.

The production units that will comprise the Stage 3 expansion facility were designed by Georgia equipment manufacturer Chart Industries.

The turbines used will be electric, unlike the gas turbines used previously, which will help minimise the expansion’s pollution.

Feygin concluded: “Cheniere is fortunate to be building in South Texas, where there is an ever-growing wind resource that we can also take advantage of.”

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