Feb 24 (Reuters) – Cheniere Energy Inc raised its full-year adjusted core earnings forecast on Wednesday, expecting incremental growth in demand for liquefied natural gas as COVID-19 vaccinations boost economic activity that had slumped due the health crisis.
Lockdown measures implemented to curb the pandemic slashed demand for energy and hurt prices for natural gas in 2020. But with economic recovery in Asia, particularly in China, in the second half of the year, fuel sales have picked up.
“A slow return towards normal is expected to occur in the coming months, depending on the speed of vaccine rollout within regions, and the speed and shape of economic recovery across the LNG importing nations,” Cheniere, the largest U.S. LNG producer, said.
LNG prices in Asia, one of the fastest growing markets for the fuel, surged to record highs in January due to low stocks, a cold winter, global production outages and shipping delays.
Cheniere said it plans to provide greenhouse gas emissions data associated with each LNG cargo to customers beginning in 2022.
The number of LNG cargoes for which customers said they would not take delivery was reduced from this summer, Cheniere said.
The company also said the recent frigid weather and storm in Texas and neighboring states had no material impact on its assets or operations.
“We worked closely with state and local officials, suppliers, customers, and other stakeholders to mitigate the impact on our operations through the event while providing critically needed natural gas back into the system to help restore services for human needs.” Cheniere Chief Executive Jack Fusco said.
Cheniere raised its forecast for adjusted earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) to between $4.1 and $4.4 billion, from its prior estimate of $3.9 and $4.2 billion.
Net loss attributable to shareholders narrowed to $194 million, or 77 cents per share, in the quarter ended Dec. 31, from $463 million, or $1.84 per share, in the third quarter.
Analysts had on average estimated a profit of 71 cents, according to IBES data from Refinitiv. (Reporting by Arundhati Sarkar in Bengaluru; additional reporting by Scott DiSavino in New York; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta, Shinjini Ganguli and Jonathan Oatis)
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