Tellurian explores sale options, makes leadership changes

US LNG firm Tellurian, the developer of the Driftwood LNG export project in Louisiana, has made new changes to its leadership team and confirmed that it is exploring a potential sale of the company.

In December, Tellurian appointed Martin Houston as the chairman replacing Charif Souki, who has left the Driftwood LNG terminal developer.

Tellurian’s board also recently appointed him as the company’s executive chairman and elected not to renew or extend the term of the company’s employment agreement with CEO Octavio Simoes, beyond the term ending on June 5, 2024.

The firm said in a statement on Monday that Simoes will move into an advisory role, and as previously announced, is to retire in June 2024.

Moreover, Tellurian appointed executive VP and president of Driftwood Assets, Samik Mukherjee, as president of Tellurian Investments.

Mukherjee has responsibility for the development of all Tellurian’s assets, including upstream, Driftwood LNG and pipeline, as well as permitting, safety, and asset integrity, the firm said.

Tellurian said Daniel Belhumeur, president of Tellurian, retains accountability for finance, investor relations, legal, public and government affairs and human resources.

Mukherjee and Belhumeur will jointly manage Tellurian’s commercial activities as the company integrates its commercial activities with future operational execution and optimization.

“Since December, our focus has been on delivering value for our shareholders and customers and Tellurian’s recent activities support that focus,” Houston said.

“We are now further aligning our internal resources to better serve these changes. Both Samik and Daniel are experienced leaders, and I have the utmost confidence they will thrive in their added responsibilities,” he said.

Houston added, “I am encouraged by Tellurian’s progress in the last few months and we will continue to focus on delivering Driftwood LNG.”

“We are grateful for Octavio’s guidance over the past several years. He has helped position Tellurian for the future, and we wish him the best of fortune as he transitions to retirement,” he said.

Sale

Tellurian recently appointed Lazard as a financial adviser to assist with shaping commercial structures as well as balance sheet management.

Houston revealed more details on this move in a letter sent to shareholders on January 29.

He said at the time that “focus of the Lazard engagement is on commercial matters”, denying reports on a potential sale of the company.

After that, Tellurian said it is exploring the sale of its upstream natural gas assets.

However, in a SEC filling dated March 15 Tellurian said the company’s engagement with Lazard has been expanded from the previously announced exploration of the sale of the company’s upstream natural gas assets.

It now includes a “broader spectrum of opportunities, including, but not limited to, alternative debt and equity financings, the sale of equity interests in Driftwood or Tellurian, a potential sale of the company, assisting in securing commercial partners, positioning Tellurian in the public markets and with other stakeholders, and providing other strategic guidance to the board of directors of the company.”

Tellurian also said it may sell up to $366.1 million worth of shares from time to time via a deal with distribution agency Virtu Americas.

Driftwood LNG

Tellurian recently said it expects to take a final investment decision in 2024 to build the first two plants at its Driftwood LNG export plant in Louisiana.

The company also said it expects to issue a full notice to proceed to compatriot engineering and construction giant Bechtel to begin construction for for the first phase of the plant in the second half of this year.

Under the first phase, Tellurian aims to build two LNG plants near Lake Charles with an export capacity of up to 11 mtpa.

Tellurian issued a limited notice to proceed to Bechtel in March 2022 and it said in August last year that Bechtel completed piling work for the first plant and also concrete pouring for all plant one compressor foundations.

The firm claims it invested more than $1 billion in Driftwood with construction of the first two plants about 30 percent advanced.

The full project would include five plants with a total capacity of about 27.6 mtpa.

Tellurian also said that potential expansion options could include a second facility with up to 30 mtpa of capacity.

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