California Company Adds Executive Horsepower to Drive Growth of its North American LNG Export Business

Sempra’s goal: to become one of North America’s largest developers of LNG export facilities

By Bevo Beaven, Editor, Oil & Gas 360

You might know San Diego’s Sempra Energy (stock ticker: SRE, $SRE) as a power generating utility in Southern California, but think again. The company has 20,000-employees, chalked up $11.6 billion in revenue in 2018, and serves approximately 40 million consumers worldwide already, but it’s looking for more. And it sees liquefying and shipping out North America’s natural gas as a prime vehicle to get there.

Cameron LNG is Sempra’s farthest along export project

Sempra is the power behind the Cameron LNG liquefaction project in Hackberry, Louisiana, one of the company’s three LNG export projects in development. The Houston Chronicle recently reported that “more than 8,000 people are working day and night to bring the Gulf Coast’s third liquefied natural gas complex into operation within the next few months as global demand for LNG grows and U.S. natural gas production surges.”

To support its planned growth, Sempra has added top executives to its Sempra LNG business unit.

Sempra Energy Takes the LNG Bull by the Horns - Oil & Gas 360 Sempra Bird

Justin Bird was named president of Sempra Energy’s Sempra LNG unit.

Justin Bird has been named president of Sempra LNG, and Lisa Glatch will become Sempra LNG’s chief operating officer. Both Bird and Glatch will report to Carlos Ruiz Sacristán, chairman and CEO of Sempra North American Infrastructure.

As president, Bird will focus on marketing and project development for Sempra LNG. Previously he led the continued development of Sempra’s five LNG projects in his prior position as chief development officer for Sempra North American Infrastructure. Bird previously led the $7.4 billion project financing of the Cameron LNG liquefaction project in Hackberry, La.

Bird holds a bachelor’s degree in accounting from Arizona State University, where he graduated summa cum laude, and a law degree from the University of Pennsylvania.

Sempra Energy Takes the LNG Bull by the Horns - Oil & Gas 360 Lisa Glatch

Lisa Glatch was named Chief Operating Officer of Sempra Energy’s Sempra LNG business unit.

Glatch will be responsible for engineering and construction, project controls, human resources, external affairs and operations for Sempra LNG.  She also will continue to serve as the board chair for Cameron LNG. Glatch has 30 years of engineering and construction experience, management of multibillion-dollar projects and she held board and senior executive positions at CH2M, Jacobs and Fluor, global engineering, construction and technical firms serving the energy market.

Glatch joined Sempra Energy in 2018 as strategic initiatives officer and her primary focus has been to support the completion of Cameron LNG’s Phase 1, the $10 billion joint-venture liquefaction project under construction. Sempra Energy owns 50 percent of the project.

Glatch graduated with honors from the University of Colorado at Boulder with a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering. She also has completed advanced management programs at The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania and Stanford University.

“The Sempra Energy board and the management team could not be more pleased to match our world-class liquefied natural gas (LNG) opportunity with a world-class leadership team,” Sempra Energy Chairman and CEO Jeffrey W. Martin said in a statement. “This is a powerful combination as we work to become North America’s premier energy infrastructure company.”

Sempra is currently working on 3 North American LNG export projects – 2 on the U.S. Gulf Coast, 1 on Mexico’s Pacific Coast

Sempra LNG’s goal is to deliver 45 million tonnes per annum (Mtpa) of natural gas to world buyers, making it one of North America’s largest developers of LNG export facilities.

Sempra Energy Takes the LNG Bull by the Horns - Oil & Gas 360

Sempra LNG project sites. Source: Sempra Energy

  • With Cameron LNG’s three-train, 14.95 million metric tons per annum (Mtpa) liquefaction project in the final construction stages, the company is simultaneously working on the initial development of a proposed 9.97 Mtpa capacity expansion for Cameron. But that 24.9 Mtpa hasn’t satisfied Sempra’s natural gas export appetite.
  • Sempra LNG is also developing the proposed Port Arthur LNG natural gas liquefaction and export facility in Port Arthur, Texas. That project would add another 13.5 Mtpa capacity to Sempra’s U.S. Gulf Coast LNG export capabilities.
  • Additional export capacity is being sought in Mexico, on Baja California’s coast, where Sempra and its IEnova subsidiary are seeking to add liquefaction facilities to the existing Energía Costa Azul (ECA) regasification terminal. The ECA LNG receipt terminal was the first LNG receipt terminal constructed on North America’s West Coast. Located about 15 miles north of Ensenada, Baja California, it began commercial operations in 2008. ECA LNG Phase 1 is a single-train liquefaction facility to be located adjacent to the existing LNG receipt terminal and expected to produce approximately 2.4 Mtpa of LNG for export to global markets. In December 2018, Sempra announced Heads of Agreements (HOAs) with affiliates of Total S.A. (Total), Mitsui & Co., Ltd. (Mitsui) and Tokyo Gas Co., Ltd. (Tokyo Gas) for the full export capacity of Phase 1 of the Energia Costa Azul LNG project.

By comparison, the first LNG export company to build out liquefaction capacity and start exporting from the U.S. Gulf Coast was Cheniere Energy (stock ticker: LNG, $LNG), with its 27.0 Mtpa planned capacity at its Sabine Pass plant in Louisiana. Cheniere began shipping cargoes from Sabine Pass in Q1 of 2016, and additional trains’ expansions are underway as it builds out toward total capacity. Cheniere is also developing and constructing additional liquefaction facilities near Corpus Christi, Texas, which is being designed for up to five trains, with expected aggregate nominal production capacity of approximately 22.5 Mtpa of LNG. First cargoes from Corpus Christi were shipped at the end of 2018.

Cheniere and Sempra are only two of many LNG export facilities either on the drawing boards, in the permitting phase, or under construction along the U.S. Gulf Coast.

Sempra Energy Takes the LNG Bull by the Horns - Oil & Gas 360 Ferc LNG map

Source: FERC


Baker Hughes liking LNG uplift

Recently, oilfield services giant Baker Hughes (stock ticker: BHGE, $BHGE) discussed its tremendous opportunity for growth from the world’s LNG export momentum. Baker Hughes has secured contracts to manufacture turbine equipment for some of the new projects.

“Baker Hughes facilities in Italy will make turbines and other equipment for the Shell-led LNG Canada export terminal in British Colombia and the Exxon Mobil-led Golden Pass LNG export terminal in Port Arthur, Texas. Although a final investment decision remains pending, Baker Hughes was selected by the Russian company Novatek to make turbines and other equipment for a second export terminal being built at the Arctic LNG facility on the Yamal Peninsula of Siberia,” the Houston Chronicle reported.

“Those three LNG export terminal projects represent more than $75 billion of investment to put 49 million metric tons of annual LNG production capacity onto the global market.

“Obviously, there is momentum in the industry and it’s all for the right reasons,” Baker Hughes Vice President Marco Caccavale said. “Technology and innovation remain critical to the health of the industry because LNG is not only competing with other sources of energy but there is internal competition between projects. So, there’s a little bit of a race going on.”

Another LNG project gets FERC Final Environmental Impact Statement

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has prepared a final environmental impact statement (EIS) for the Texas LNG Project, proposed by Texas LNG Brownsville, LLC (Texas LNG). Texas LNG requests authorization to site, construct, modify, and operate liquefied natural gas (LNG) export facilities on the Brownsville Ship Channel in Cameron County, Texas.

The Texas LNG Project would include a new LNG export terminal capable of producing up to 4 million tonnes per annum of LNG for export. The terminal would receive natural gas to the export facilities from a third-party intrastate pipeline.

Read the Brownsville FERC FEIS here.



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