Cheniere Poised to Export First LNG Cargo Today to Brazil

  • Asia Vision is `fully loaded' as tugboats move into position
  • A second LNG tanker will load within days, Cheniere says

Cheniere Energy Inc. expects to ship the first cargo of liquefied natural gas on Wednesday to Brazil with another tanker to be loaded a few days later, marking the historic start of U.S. shale gas exports and boosting its shares to the highest level in a month.

The Asia Vision tanker will carry the first shipment of LNG from the company’s Sabine Pass terminal in Louisiana, Meg Gentle, president of Cheniere’s marketing unit, said at the IHS CERAWeek energy conference in Houston. Petroleo Brasileiro SA, Brazil’s state-owned energy company, bought the cargo of 3 billion cubic feet at “market price,” she said. In a few days, another tanker will take a shipment, Jean Abiteboul, senior vice president of international at Cheniere, said, without identifying the recipient.

"This is the vessel that is going to change the global gas market," Gentle said of the Asia Vision. "We expect LNG markets to continue to grow."

The exports come as Cheniere and other shippers face a global supply glut that’s depressing prices amid slowing demand from top consuming nations in Asia. Cheniere’s application process to export the fuel began in July 2010, with the initial shipment delayed from the third week of January because of faulty wiring. 

Cheniere jumped 10 percent to close at $33.62 in New York on Wednesday and has risen 36 percent since Feb. 11.

‘Fully Loaded’

The Asia Vision was scheduled to depart from Cheniere’s Sabine Pass terminal at around 5:30 p.m. local time, according to the U.S. Coast Guard. Tug boats, stationed at the terminal to guide tankers, began to move around the vessel at around noon local time, according to energy data provider Genscape Inc., which has a camera trained on the tanker.

Asia Vision’s shipment of LNG will be converted to a gaseous form at an import terminal in Brazil’s Bahia state, and then transported via pipelines to run electric generators, Petroleo Brasileiro said in a statement Wednesday. The government-owned company said it’s diversifying suppliers with this deal.

The U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission granted approval earlier Wednesday for exports from the Sabine Pass terminal to begin.

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