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Pivot. LNG, Plants Development, Sempra Energy, Louisiana, Mexico

Sempra Energy, one of the key U.S. gas exporters, announced earlier in the month that it will continue to build liquefied natural gas (LNG) export plants in Louisiana and Mexico, while also continuing to develop Phase 1 of the Costa Azul LNG export plant in Mexico.

At the company's earnings call, Justin Bird, CEO of Sempra Infrastructure, assured that Costa Azul would produce its first LNG by the end of 2024. After completion, It is expected that Costa Azul will produce approximately 3.3 million tonnes of LNG per annum.

In addition, Sempra would develop the 4.0-mmtpa Vista Pacifico LNG export facility located next to the company's Terminal for Refined Products in Topolobampo.

A slated pipeline connecting Vista Pacifico to two existing grids would simultaneously provide gas from the Permian basin in Texas and New Mexico to Asian markets that are seeing a rapid increase in LNG demand.

Vista Pacifico is being built in conjunction with the Energia Costa Azul (ECA) LNG project currently under construction in Baja California, for which the company has been awarded permits by the U.S. Energy Department to export to countries with an FTA, approval for non-FTA countries is expected in the coming months.

A mid-size LNG facility, Vista Pacifico would be supplied with lower-cost natural gas from the Permian Basin to export to high-demand Asian markets. Business operations associated with it will fall under the Sempra Infrastructure business platform.

Sempra Energy officials also assured that they will continue to be focused on putting together a roughly 6- million ton-per-annum fourth train at Cameron LNG, as well as optimizing operation at the 15- million ton-per-annum, three-train facility in Louisiana. 

It was mentioned that both the Vista Pacifico project and the Cameron expansion might be sanctioned before the Port Arthur LNG project in Texas.

With regards to LNG-related inquiries from customers, the company sees a real increase in requests directed not only from Asia but from Europe and South America as well. In line with this, Sempra's long-term LNG development forecast suggests that the demand for LNG will grow between mid-to-high single digits. 

Once marketing begins, Sempra's management expects Vista Pacifico to be oversubscribed.

Additionally, according to the company's analytics, there's a tremendous amount of recognition about the role of natural gas and specifically, LNG in Europe at the moment. And there's certainly a new risk premium being assigned to pipeline gas. This sentiment also plays a favorable role in the company's outlook. 

In particular, October saw prices for natural gas in Europe and Asia reach record highs for the first time in a while. Delays in pipeline gas flowing from Russia is one of the reasons for such hasty change among the EU-nations politics as well as the reason behind boosted gas fees, as cited by the company's CEO. 

Therefore Sempra Energy's comfortable position is a direct result of good market decisions, given that the company's capacity to deliver energy directly into Europe and Asia edges out most of its direct competitors in respective regions. 

13 years is not long enough: Glencore and Cheniere Sign Long-Term LNG Deal

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Texas Cheniere and Swiss Glencore had entered into a free-on-board agreement for approximately 0.8 million tonnes of LNG per annum, starting in April 2023 for 13 consecutive years. This SPA demonstrates the commercial momentum Cheniere has been enjoying and marks an important milestone, as the company lays the groundwork for a final investment decision on Corpus Christi Stage 3, which is expected to occur next year.

Permian: Oil Pipeline Takeaway. Too Much or Just Fit?

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With all oil pipeline projects currently under construction in Permian, there is no certainty if their operators' margins will be high enough.

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Shareholder’s payout target was increased by 50% after the largest U.S. independent oil producer surpassed Wall Street’s earnings estimates on growing energy prices, said Houston-based Conoco Phillips Co. on Aug. 4. Due to Western sanctions on major producer Russia throttling energy supply amid a rebound in demand from pandemic lows, oil and gas #prices have soared. Crude has been trading more than 25% higher since the start of the year and results also benefited from high natural gas prices. Meanwhile, shares were down a fraction, to $91.03, in early trading but are up about 26% year to date. Conoco Phillips stated, that the average price obtained for a barrel of oil and gas accelerated 77% from a year earlier to $88.57. The company acknowledges that it has not hedged any of its oil and gas sales to make the most of higher market prices. The capacity of 1.69 million boe/d was in line with Wall Street estimates, however, the company expected the current quarter’s output would be between 1.71 million and 1.76 million boe/d.

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California oil joint venture, Aera Energy, of Exxon Mobil Corp. and ShellPlc is being sold to German asset manager IKAV, according to the agreement of Sept. 1. Shell noted that the sale of its 51.8% membership interest in Aera Energy is for a total consideration of about $2 billion in cash with additional contingent payments based on future oil prices, subject to regulatory approval. However, the total transaction value was not disclosed. Being one of California’s largest oil and gas producers, Aera Energy accounts for nearly 25% of the state’s production. The sale by Exxon Mobil and Shell ends a 25-year-long partnership in California, meanwhile, it persists a streak of divestments of mature oil and gas properties by the two supermajors. Aera Energy LLC operates about 13,000 wells in the San Joaquin Valley in California, producing oil and associated gas. In 2021, Aera took out about 95,000 boe/d. Exxon Mobil’s interests in the Aera oil-production operation in California contained a 48.2% share of Aera Energy LLC and a 50% share of Aera Energy Services Co. held by Mobil California Exploration & Producing Co. Moreover, Exxon Mobil affiliates have signed a separate agreement for the sale of an associated loading facility and pipeline system. The sale effectively ends Shell’s upstream position in California. The company reported that the divestiture is valued to result in a post-tax impairment of $300 million to $400 million, subject to adjustments.

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The completion of the merger between Centennial Resource Development Inc. and Colgate Energy Partners II LLC happened on Sept. 1, sealing the debut of Permian Resources Corp., which is considered the largest pure-play E&P company in the Delaware Basin. Permian Resources’ idea was to combine two successful E&P companies, creating a better, stronger, and more strategically compelling company. Centennial and Colgate announced an agreement to merge in May, denying rumors that Colgate, a privately held independent Midland-based company, had been seeking an IPO. The merger estimated Colgate at about $3.9 billion and consists of 269.3 million shares of Centennial stock, $525 million of cash, and the assumption of approximately $1.4 billion of Colgate’s outstanding net debt. Permian Resources, being the combined company, has a deep inventory of “high-quality” drilling locations on around 180,000 net acres the companies anticipate will provide more than $1 billion of free cash flow in 2023 at current strip prices, in accordance with the company release on Sept. 1.

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