Australia’s LNG Ltd. in Partnership Talks for U.S. Export Plant

Liquefied Natural Gas Ltd., an Australian company planning to export the fuel from a proposed $2.2 billion plant in the U.S., said it’s in talks with partners and gas suppliers to feed the venture.

“We’ve had discussions with quite a number of players and there are two in particular we’re very focused on,” Chief Executive Officer Maurice Brand said today by phone from Houston. “We’re looking for those talks to be documented in a preliminary agreement as quick as we can.”

LNG Ltd., backed by China National Petroleum Corp., plans to decide on whether to proceed with the Magnolia LNG venture in Louisiana at the end of 2014 and to start production in late 2017. A natural gas glut that has driven U.S. prices to the lowest in a decade is prompting companies including LNG Ltd. to seek approval to ship the fuel overseas.

The Perth-based company, also planning the $1.7 billion Fisherman’s Landing project in Australia to tap Asian demand, said it aims to develop LNG plants at about half the cost of other projects. LNG Ltd. is also considering a third development in North America, Brand said.

The Magnolia LNG venture received approval from the U.S. Department of Energy to export as much as 4 million metric tons of LNG a year from the Port of Lake Charles to free-trade agreement countries, LNG Ltd. said today in a statement. Japan, China, Taiwan and India, all non-FTA countries, account for about half of world LNG demand, according to the International Group of Liquefied Natural Gas Importers.

The Australian company, about 20 percent-owned by CNPC unit China Huanqiu Contracting & Engineering Corp., plans to start the process to get approval from the U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission in March, Brand said. The project would be built in two phases and have a total capacity of as much as 8 million tons of LNG a year, according to the company.

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