LONDON (Reuters) - Royal Dutch Shell, one of the world’s largest liquefied natural gas (LNG) suppliers, has asked U.S. regulators to extend the time by which it should complete an LNG export project in Louisiana by five years to 2025, regulatory filings showed.
The project, a 50-50 venture with U.S. midstream company Energy Transfer, envisaged converting an existing import and regasification facility in Lake Charles into a multi-train, 16.45 million tonnes per year (mtpa) facility.
The delay takes a major U.S. export project out of the race to achieve a final investment decision (FID) in time to start operations during an anticipated supply downturn in 2023-2024.
About a dozen projects in North America, mostly in the Gulf of Mexico, are vying for FID this year or early next year to start production in time to hit that sweetspot. But the more get approved, the less likely other projects are to go ahead as the expected dearth turns into oversupply.
The delay is due to Shell’s takeover of the project after its $53 billion acquisition of BG Group in 2016 prompted it to re-evaluate and strike new agreements, the Anglo-Dutch company said in a letter dated last Friday to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.
It said following this process, the project plans had not changed but a new 50-50 ownership structure with Energy Transfer had been struck and Shell had committed to taking 50% of the export capacity.
“Under the new Project Framework Agreement, ET and Shell have established a detailed process for the development of the Project which includes milestones that are expected to result in the Project sponsors reaching FID as early as the end of 2020,” it said in the letter.
“Completion of construction of the LNG export terminal facility is expected to occur as early as the second half of 2025.”
Reporting by Sabina Zawadzki; Editing by Dale Hudson