Cheniere’s ousted executive launches next generation LNG project in Louisiana

Cheniere - Sabine Pass LNG Terminal
Photo Source: Roy Luck on Flickr

As Cheniere Energy remains in the media spotlight having dispatched the first LNG cargo to leave the U.S. shores, it’s founder and ex-Chief Executive, Charif Souki, is busy working on his new LNG development company called Tellurian Investments.

Charif Souki, left Cheniere after being ousted by a billionaire investor Carl Icahn, when a difference of opinion arouse regarding the future direction of the company. Souki wanted to continue investment into new facilities and improved LNG capacity, while the new board “wanted to just distribute cash to shareholders” (Souki).

Followin his departure from Cheniere, Souki has teamed with Martin Houston, the former COO of BG Group, to form Tellurian Investments. According to Forbes, Tellurian has secured a 650-acre site in Louisiana on the Calcasieu River where they intend to build 12 million tons per year LNG liquefaction plant.

Over the last 18 months, Houston’s team along with the largest construction and civil engineering company in the US, Bechtel Corporation, has been working to engineer the next generation of LNG plants. The new plants would be simpler and easier to build, with Tellurian’s trains consisting of .67 million tpy “bricks” that would be built in four groups of four.

As Forbes reports, Souki and Houston will need to raise about $8 billion to build out their project. Until the project receives federal approvals and secures customer contracts, it remains self-funded by the two entrepreneurs. They expect to file their proposal with the Federal Energy Regulatory Committee in about 8 months. Then they hope to break ground in 2018, with first LNG shipping in late 2021. An IPO is a logical next step, although Souki is understandably cautious and determined not to lose control over his new venture;

“Martin and I will always control a significant piece of a public company or we sell the whole company,” he told Forbes. “Being subjected to incomplete reasoning processes is not fun.”

Photo Source: Roy Luck on Flickr

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