US FIDs in disarray this year

Thursday, 14 May 2020
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US LNG developer NextDecade Corp is thought to be still planning to take a final investment decision (FID) on its proposed Rio Grande LNG export plant in Texas this year.

The company also said in a filing late Friday with US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) that it would delay the release of its quarterly earnings report to around 18th May from the original date of 11th May.

In the filing, the company added a COVID-19 risk factor to comply with US federal guidelines. This risk factor described the possible impacts of the pandemic on its business, including a delay to the FID.

“The company did not provide an update on our project’s FID timing,” in its filing, NextDecade spokeswoman, Toni Beck, stressed by email to Reuters.

NextDecade has already contracted Bechtel to build two liquefaction trains for $7.042 bill or an option to build three trains for $9.565 bill. Each train can produce about 5.87 mill tonnes per annum of LNG. The project is expected to come onstream in 2023.

Several other North American LNG developers, have delayed export projects as government lockdowns to stop the spread of the pandemic cut global demand for natural gas and other forms of energy.

Over the past couple of weeks, Sempra Energy has delayed its decision to build its Port Arthur LNG export plant in Texas until 2021, while Cheniere Energy, the largest US LNG producer, signalled that it may not make a FID to expand its Corpus Christi export plant until next year, Reuters reported.

At the start of this year, 12 companies, including Sempra and Cheniere, said they had planned to take FIDs in 2020. This total has been reduced to just a handful, including NextDecade. Analysts said they expect only one or two of those projects to actually go forward this year, Reuters reported. 

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