The US Energy Department has issued a final authorization for the Corpus Christi Liquefaction (CCL) project to export domestically produced LNG to countries that do not have a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with the US.
The project has been authorized to export LNG up to the equivalent of 2.1 billion standard cubic feet per day (Bcf/d) of natural gas for a period of 20 years.
After the announcement Cheniere's Board of Directors made a positive final investment decision with respect to the project and has issued a notice to proceed to Bechtel Oil, Gas and Chemicals, Inc. to construct the first two natural gas liquefaction trains.
The CCL project is designed for up to three trains with expected aggregate nominal production capacity of approximately 13.5 million tonnes per annum (mtpa), three LNG storage tanks with capacity of approximately 10.1 Bcfe, two LNG carrier docks and a 22-mile, 48" natural gas supply pipeline.
The first train is expected to start operations as early as 2018, with the second train expected to commence operations approximately six to nine months thereafter.
Total project costs of approximately US$11.5 billion for the first two trains, two LNG storage tanks, one dock and the natural gas supply pipeline will be funded with approximately $3.1 billion of project equity and approximately $8.4 billion of debt.
Corpus Christi Holdings, LLC a wholly owned subsidiary of Cheniere, has closed on its previously announced credit facility for the first two trains totaling approximately US$8.4 billion. Subsequent to the close of the CCL credit facility, Cheniere CCH HoldCo II, LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Cheniere, has closed on US$1.0 billion of the previously announced US$1.5 billion aggregate principal amount of 11% Senior Secured Notes due 2025 with EIG Management Company, LLC. The Convertible Notes, together with the CCL credit facility and an equity contribution of approximately$500 million from Cheniere, complete the financing required to begin developing, constructing and placing into service the first two trains.
The development of U.S. natural gas resources is having a transformative impact on the U.S. energy landscape, helping to improve the country's energy security. This increase in domestic natural gas production is expected to continue, with the Energy Information Administration forecasting a record average production rate of 72.4 Bcf/d in 2015.