Cheniere’s head gives his unique perspective
Charif Souki, CEO of Cheniere Energy (ticker: LNG), presented at lunch during EnerCom’s The Oil & Gas Conference® 20 in Denver, Colorado, today. After his speech, conference attendees asked for Souki’s unique insight into global LNG markets.
Questions ranged from progress on the construction of the company’s liquefied natural gas (LNG) project at Corpus Christi, Texas, to what other LNG projects might make it to completion. Throughout the Q&A, Souki remained focused on what was immediately ahead for Cheniere. When asked what the company might do once it has free cash flow, Souki said, “I have my hands full with our current projects, I’ll worry about that when we get there.”
“With our 31 million ton per annum platform, we have secured our cash flow come hell or high water. Now that we have that platform, we can start to diversify.”
Souki discussed the importance of avoiding “obnoxious” profits that could leave room for competitors. “I told the Qataris years ago, you can’t charge so much for gas or you’ll kill your own market. I never thought the U.S. would be the ones to come in to that space, and I never thought I would be a part of it, but I warned them this would happen.”
When asked about Asian markets, Souki called it a bonus. “It’s a significant market, but we view it very opportunistically.” Europe will remain Cheniere’s main focus, with a significant amount of demand available now that political tensions with Russia have caused the country to reduce their supply to the region.
“This is a huge market,” said Souki, and Cheniere will be the first U.S. project to begin liquefaction at its Sabine Pass project. The low price of gas in the U.S. gives it a huge advantage in the global market, too. “Everyone is talking about Africa, but that’s more than just a greenfield project. You have to build a country before you can build an LNG plant.”
Cheniere is set to meet the growing demand for natural gas around the world, and the U.S. will soon be joining the crude oil markets as well, said Souki. “The crude export ban will be lifted. It’s inescapable. There’s no reason for it to continue in this era of energy abundance.”