(Reuters) – U.S. liquefied natural gas (LNG) company Cheniere Energy Inc said Thursday it introduced feed gas to the sixth liquefaction train at its Sabine Pass LNG export plant in Louisiana in September.
That keeps the plant, which will likely produce first LNG in test mode before the end of the year, on track to enter commercial service in the first quarter of 2022.
“We look forward to substantial completion on Train 6 at Sabine Pass in the first quarter, approximately a year ahead of the guaranteed completion schedule,” Cheniere Chief Executive Jack Fusco said in the earnings release.
In addition, Fusco noted Cheniere recently entered into two agreements to sell LNG to units of Glencore PLC and Chinese gas distribution company ENN Natural Gas Co Ltd.
Fusco said the agreements support “our confidence” in making a final investment decision in 2022 to build the Stage 3 expansion at the company’s Corpus Christi LNG export plant in Texas.
Stage 3 would include up to seven midscale liquefaction trains with an expected capacity of over 10 million tonnes per annum (MTPA), which is about 1.3 billion cubic feet per day (bcfd) of natural gas.
The company said it expects to commence construction of Stage 3 upon, among other things, entering into an engineering, procurement, and construction contract and additional commercial agreements, and obtaining adequate financing.
Analysts at Cowen & Co said their quick take on Cheniere’s third quarter earnings were positive and said the company remained one of the investment bank’s top picks.
Cheniere provided 2022 earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization (EBITDA) guidance of $5.8-$6.3 billion.
Cowen said that compared with a consensus estimate of $5.8 billion and Cowen’s estimate of $6.2 billion, noting Cheniere’s EBITDA guidance “cleared a high bar that rose $0.5 billion since early September.”
Reporting By Scott DiSavino; Editing by Marguerita Choy