Pointe LNG founders return to promised land to kick off FERC review of 6 mtpa plant
The founders of US liquefaction start-up Pointe LNG have returned to land in Louisiana they previously relinquished to launch a plant three times the size of original plans, and this week requested to start the federal pre-filing review process for a 6 mtpa facility.
A “significant portion” of the 600+ acre site in Plaquemines Parish was previously reviewed by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) in connection with a now-defunct 2 mtpa LNG plant by Louisiana LNG, which showed “no significant environmental impacts”.
Pointe LNG is headed by the former founding partners of Louisiana LNG, Tom Burgess and Jim Lindsay, who sold their company to Parallax and Cheniere Energy in 2015.
“Jim Lindsay and I were the original founders of Louisiana LNG in 2013,” Burgess told Gas Matters Today.
“We initiated a FERC pre-filing review, … made significant progress on our 2 mtpa project, and advanced commercial discussions with prospective customers.”
When the oil market tanked in late 2014 their funder pulled out, and Louisiana LNG was sold to Cheniere-backed Parallax, which increased project capacity to 5.8 mtpa and boosted acreage to 250 acres.
Parallax and Cheniere then became embroiled in lawsuits and the Louisiana LNG site lay idle, prompting FERC to halt the review process, Burgess said. When landowner agreements expired in May 2017, Burgess and Lindsay discussed restarting the project.
“As part of our agreement with the landowners, we required (them) to … ensure that their land (was) not encumbered by the pending Parallax and Cheniere lawsuits,” said Burgess. Five months later, Pointe was born.
Burgess appeared to confirm reports that Pointe has signed non-binding letters of intent with undisclosed Asian customers for 2 mtpa. “We are in discussions with those same entities to invest in Pointe LNG,” he said.
Pointe claims advantages over competing US projects as its site requires no dredging and minimal lateral pipelines. The site on the east bank of the Mississippi has “exceptional access” to pipeline capacity from Marcellus, Stack & Scoop and Haynesville basins – something that many second wave US LNG projects are struggling to achieve.
Pointe says it can build the plant for a highly competitive price of USD 535/ton (USD 3.2 billion total capex) – “slightly lower than what is generally considered achievable at the moment for a greenfield first phase,” according to one industry source.
The 2025 in-service date could be ambitious as the project must still secure regulatory permits and finance, with a final investment decision at least two or three years away. - ET