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Aramco ... getting a foothold in global gas trade

Aramco ... getting a foothold in global gas trade

Aramco taps into US shale gas boom

RIYADH

Saudi Aramco has agreed to a buy a stake in Sempra Energy’s Texas LNG export terminal, giving the world’s biggest oil exporter a foothold in the fast-growing global gas trade.

The proposed deal, which also includes an agreement to buy gas from the plant, would mark Aramco’s first entry into production of oil or gas outside Saudi Arabia. Aramco can potentially ship the LNG home to the kingdom’s power plants or trade it globally. The state-owned company and Sempra signed a preliminary agreement to acquire a 25 per cent stake in the plant, but didn’t disclose the value of the potential deal.

A recent transaction could give a guideline for what the deal is worth. France’s Total paid about $1.5 billion for the LNG assets of utility Engie, which included shares in Sempra’s Cameron LNG plant in the US.

Saudi Arabia is tapping into the US shale revolution, joining a wave of LNG exporters that will primarily ship the fuel to buyers in Europe and Asia. Sempra itself is working on five projects. Both the US and Australia could overtake Qatar as the world’s biggest LNG supplier in coming years.

Aramco sees annual demand for LNG rising about 4 per cent a year and reaching 500 million metric tonnes a year by 2035. Global demand for LNG, which is gas that is super-chilled until it turns to liquid and can be transported by tankers, was 324 million tonnes last year.




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