Tellurian names Souki as executive chairman

US LNG export project developer Tellurian said Tuesday it named its co-founder Charif Souki as executive chairman.

Souki has been Tellurian’s non-executive chairman since founding the company in February 2016.

Tellurian has recently delayed a final investment decision on its Driftwood LNG project to 2021 due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Louisiana export project sustained a major setback in May when a deal with India’s Petronet LNG fell through.

Petronet planned to buy up to five million tonnes per year of LNG from the project. The deal also called for a $2.5 billion equity stake from the Indian company.

But the duo did not manage to negotiate the deal by the end of May and it elapsed.

Franc’s Total remains the only company that made a firm commitment to support the project with a $500 million investment.

Howevher, Tellurian is still confident it will manage to build the proposed 27.6 mtpa LNG export project.

The company’s chief executive Meg Gentle said in a statement on Tuesday that demand for LNG increased 13% last year and continues to grow at a pace that will “outstrip capacity growth unless we act now and get facilities built”.

“While Covid-19 has slowed the market this year, the market is rebalancing quickly and the underlying fundamentals that support long-term investment in LNG are strengthening”, she said.

Souki re-engaging

“As the world recovers, there is an urgent need to make up for lost time”, Charif Souki said.

Souki said he is “re-engaging to provide additional support” to Tellurian, a company he co-founded with Martin Houston, using personal and friends and family funds.

“I am 100% committed to Tellurian’s success and will be working alongside our President and CEO Meg Gentle, COO Keith Teague, and the most experienced LNG team in the industry to get our first-class project, Driftwood LNG, constructed”, he said.

Tellurian expects the total cost of its Driftwood LNG project to be about $28.9 billion.

The project is ready for construction, having received necessary permits and with 30% of engineering with Bechtel completed.

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