Sempra Energy secures loans for Cameron Parish project

Sempra Energy and its partners are expected to pull the trigger next week on building a proposed $10 billion liquefied natural gas export facility in Cameron Parish, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Cameron LNG has secured $7.5 billion in loans for the project, which will ship natural gas to Japan. The facility will be able to ship 13.1 million tons of LNG per year, and Japanese firms have already agreed to buy 8.8 million tons of production. LNG has become an important fuel source for Japan since the 2011 Fukushima Daiichi nuclear-power disaster.

U.S. natural gas exports would cut Japan’s fuel costs and reduce the premium that many Asian nations now pay for LNG compared with the price in the U.S. and Europe, Ryo Minami, oil and gas director at Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, told the Journal.

“The U.S. shale gas revolution will finally spill over to Asia,” Minami told the Journal.

Exporting natural gas to Asia from the U.S. requires supercooling the gas to turn it into a liquid that can be loaded on specially designd ships. In order to secure financing for the multibillion-dollar facilities, LNG companies first have to line up long-term contracts, 15- or 20-year commitments, from customers for the LNG.

San Diego-based Sempra owns 50.2 percent of the Cameron facility while its partners, Mitsui & Co., GDF Suez SA of France, and the NYK Line-Mitsbubishi Corp. joint venture, each own 16.6 percent.