Kyushu Electric Considers Investment in U.S. Lake Charles LNG Project for Future Procurement Plans

(Reuters) — Kyushu Electric Power is considering investing in the U.S. Lake Charles liquefied natural gas (LNG) project of Energy Transfer, among other projects, to secure a stable supply of the fuel, a company spokesperson said on Tuesday.

The comment partially confirms a Sunday report by the Nikkei business daily that Kyushu Electric may buy a stake of about 10% in the Lake Charles project and sign a 20-year contract, importing about 1.6 million metric tons a year on behalf of other Japanese utilities.

"It is true that we are considering the possibility of taking on LNG from new U.S. LNG projects, including the Lake Charles, as a potential source of future LNG procurement, as well as making an equity participation," a Kyushu Electric spokesperson said.

But the utility declined to elaborate, saying that nothing has been decided at the moment, and that there may be future negotiations.

The Nikkei said the Japanese government plans to support the move through state-backed organizations such as the Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC) and the Japan Organization for Metals and Energy Security (JOGMEC).

U.S. pipeline operator and LNG developer Energy Transfer in August requested a new and expedited export license for its proposed Lake Charles LNG plant, according to a filing with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE).

The DOE in May had refused a three-year extension to Energy Transfer's earlier license, saying the request did not meet the criteria for a second extension.

Energy Transfer has been pursuing the multibillion-dollar Lake Charles LNG project since 2012.

The firm, controlled by billionaire Kelcy Warren, has long-term agreements to supply 7.9 million metric tons per annum (MTPA) of the proposed plant's 16.45 MTPA capacity.

Japan was the world's biggest LNG importer in 2022, though China was the top importer in the first half of 2023.

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