(Adds start date of LNG supplies from 2019, detail, background)
ROME, April 3 Italian utility Enel is
close to signing a 20-year deal to buy gas from U.S. liquefied
natural gas (LNG) producer Cheniere Energy, a senior
company executive said on Thursday.
Deliveries are expected to start from 2019, Enel Chief
Financial Officer Luigi Ferraris said at a strategy presentation
The deal is for 1 billion cubic metres of U.S. shale gas per
year over a 20-year period and could be extended for a further
10-year term, he said.
It comes after Spain's Endesa, which is controlled
by Enel, agreed on Wednesday to buy 1.5 million tonnes of LNG
for 20 years from Cheniere's proposed plant in Corpus Christi,
That is equivalent to 2 bcm of shale gas per year.
A boom in shale gas production in the United States has
prompted companies to try to build plants to liquefy and export
the fuel on tankers to distant markets not reachable by
Cheniere has already secured around a dozen LNG sales deals
from its Sabine Pass export plant in Louisiana and is now
focusing on locking-in customers for the Corpus Christi plant,
even though U.S. regulators have not yet approved that site for
Countries across the world have been quietly signing deals
in recent months to import LNG from the United States, revealing
a growing appetite for the fuel overseas.
(Reporting by Alberto Sisto; Writting by Oleg Vukmanovic;
editing by Jane Baird)