methane elisabeth bg group sabine pass

Methane Shirley Elisabeth – credit BG Group and photographer Ken Childress

Cheniere Energy Partners LP (CQP) reached an 20-year deal under which Total SA (TOT, FP.FR), the France-based energy major, has agreed to purchase nearly half the volume of a fifth train planned for Cheniere’s liquefied natural-gas export facility that is being developed in Louisiana.

Cheniere Energy Partners shares were up 3.2% at $20.87 in recent premarket trading.

The pact–along with additional indications of interest–allows Cheniere to move ahead with the development of the fifth train. The company’s LNG-export project at its Sabine Pass operation initially was designed and permitted for as many as four modular LNG trains. A sixth train also is being considered.

Cheniere Energy Partners, a limited partnership formed and controlled by Cheniere Energy Inc. (LNG), is developing a major LNG export plant in Louisiana, aiming to take advantage of a glut of natural gas in the U.S. and higher prices that the commodity can demand abroad.

Total’s U.S. unit is planning to purchase about two million tons a year of the train’s annual capacity of about 4.5 million tons. The first two trains are under construction and work on the second two trains is expected to start next year.

Total and Cheniere previously has reached a partial accord allowing the Cheniere facility access to services under Total’s terminal use agreement with the Sabine Pass operation, making further expansion of LNG export capabilities possible.

The accord begins with the date of train five’s first commercial delivery–expected as early as 2018– and has an extension option of as much as 10 years.

Total’s American depositary shares rose 35 cents to $51.21 premarket.

By Tess Stynes, (c) 2012 Dow Jones & Company

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