Cheniere Energy Accelerates LNG Plant Expansion Amid Q2 Profit Gains

(Reuters) — Cheniere Energy Inc on Thursday announced plans to accelerate expansion at two of its LNG facilities as the company posted a second-quarter profit that beat analyst estimates. 

Cheniere shipped its 1000th LNG cargo earlier this year from its CCL facility. (Photo: Business Wire)

Cheniere said it expects to complete the sixth liquefaction train at its Sabine Pass LNG plant in Louisiana in the second half of 2022 amid new coronavirus safety measure. Previously it expected to "substantially complete" the project in the first half of 2023.

Cheniere plans to substantially complete Train 3 at the Corpus Christi, Texas, LNG plant in the first half of 2021, and continues to develop a third stage at Corpus Christi, the company confirmed.

In the past, Cheniere said it expects to be ready to move forward on Corpus Stage 3 by the end of 2021. 

The higher profits resulted from higher margins, in part from collecting fees from customers cancelling deliveries due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The largest U.S. exporter of liquefied natural gas accelerated revenues from customers with long term contracts that guarantee payment even if clients cancel cargoes, it said in its second quarter earnings release.

“We delivered strong results for the second quarter of 2020, despite the challenging LNG market environment and continued global impact of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Jack Fusco, Cheniere’s chief executive officer.

Cheniere said it sent out 78 LNG cargoes during the second quarter and 206 during the first half of 2020. Buyers have been scrapping purchases of U.S. cargoes this summer due to weak demand.

The company reconfirmed its full-year 2020 guidance of $3.8 billion to $4.1 billion in consolidated adjusted EBITDA and $1.0 billion to $1.3 billion in distributable cash flow.

Shares were up 1% at $52.84 in morning trading. The stock is down about 15% year to date. 

Cheniere reported a profit of 78 cents per share in the quarter. Analysts on average had expected a forecast of 58 cents per share, according to IBES Refinitiv.

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