NextDecade pens 15-year Rio Grande LNG supply deal with Engie

NextDecade, the developer of the Rio Grande LNG export plant in Texas, said it has signed a deal to supply liquefied natural gas to French utility Engie.

Under the 15-year sales and purchase deal, Engie would buy 1.75 mtpa of LNG indexed to Henry Hub on a free-on-board basis, according to a statement by NextDecade.

The LNG supply would come from the first two trains of the planned Rio Grande LNG terminal in Brownsville, Texas.

NextDecade expects to start commercial operations at the first train in 2026.

Engie and NextDecade were previously in talks for Rio Grande volumes. However, Engie said in 2020 it had decided to pull out of the talks. The move was reportedly related to French government concerns about shale gas and its environmental implications.

European countries are now looking to secure additional supplies in order to reduce reliance on Russian gas imports. A big part of these volumes will come from US suppliers.

This new deal for NextDecade follows a recent contract the firm signed with a unit of Chinese independent gas distributor ENN. Prior to that, it revealed a deal with Chinese state-owned utility Guangdong Energy.

The US firm first aims to build two liquefaction trains with a capacity of 11 mtpa while the full project would include five trains with a capacity of 27 mtpa.

NextDecade still needs to take a final investment decision on the project.

Assuming the achievement of further LNG contracting and financing, NextDecade anticipates making a positive FID on a minimum of two trains of the Rio Grande LNG export project in the second half of 2022, the firm confirmed on Monday.

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