The first cargo of liquefied natural gas has sailed from Sempra Energy’s $10bn terminal in Louisiana, helping to cement America’s position as one of the biggest global suppliers of the fuel. The shipment was confirmed on Friday in a statement from the company. The tanker Marvel Crane departed the Cameron LNG site, according to vessel-tracking data compiled by Bloomberg. Though it’s not clear where the cargo will land, the tanker is currently chartered by Mitsui & Co, a partner in the Cameron terminal. The facility is the fourth to send super-chilled US shale gas overseas, with about a dozen other projects vying to be part of the next wave of the nation’s LNG exporters.
Sempra is adding new supply to the global market just as prices crater and a trade tussle between the US and China intensifies. Though President Donald Trump visited Cameron on May 14 to tout the terminal as an example of US energy dominance, the dispute between the world’s two largest economies threatens the viability of proposals for similar facilities.Still, the startup of new export projects is helping the US to compete for a bigger slice of the world’s LNG trade. With America’s gas production reaching a record this year amid the shale boom, exports have become a vital relief valve for output of the heating and power-plant fuel.China said on May 13 it will raise tariffs on US supplies of the super-chilled fuel to 25% from 10% beginning June 1, in retaliation for Washington increasing duties on Chinese goods. Companies including NextDecade Corp, Tellurian Inc and Liquefied Natural Gas Ltd are seeking billions of dollars worth of investment to construct new terminals. San Diego-based Sempra has a 50.2% stake in the Cameron terminal. Its partners on the project include Mitsui, Mitsubishi Corp, Total SA and Nippon Yusen Kabushiki Kaisha.