Cheniere to commission 1st Corpus Christi LNG cargo on Nov 15 - port

LONDON, Oct 30 (Reuters) - Cheniere Energy will commission the first liquefied natural gas (LNG) cargo from its new Corpus Christi export terminal on Nov. 15, the Texas port’s chief executive said on Tuesday.

The commissioning of the cargo, months ahead of schedule, will mark the start of operations at Cheniere’s second LNG export facility and only the third major export facility in the United States.

The Corpus Christi terminal had been undergoing commissioning work since the summer and while it was scheduled to come onstream in the first half of next year, Cheniere had said previously first LNG would come before the end of the year.

Sean Strawbridge, CEO of the Port of Corpus Christi, where the terminal is located, told a London LNG conference that an event to mark the commissioning of the cargo would take place at the port on Nov. 15.

LNG supplies from the United States are expected to soar in the coming years, turning the country into the third largest global exporter by 2020 according to some forecasts, as new facilities are built opening the tap for LNG exports.

Around 50 million tonnes’ worth of export capacity is currently under construction in the United States, mostly on the Gulf Coast, adding to the 20 million tonnes in operation. Some 290 million tonnes of LNG was traded globally last year.

Commissioning cargoes tend to be sold on the small, murky spot market so the timing of their arrivals is anticipated by traders.

Analysts estimate between 1.0 and 2.5 million tonnes of LNG will hit the spot market in the first quarter of next year due to start-ups at new U.S. facilities, a significant amount in an industry still dominated by rigid multi-year supply contracts.

Reporting by Sabina Zawadzki Editing by Alexandra Hudson