Tellurian Inc. Founder Charif Souki has been named executive chairman, according to a company release on June 22.

Charif Souki
Charif Souki

Previously, Souki had served as Tellurian’s non-executive chairman, a position he held since founding the company in February 2016. However, he will now take a more hands-on role in order to help the company commercialize and finance its proposed Driftwood LNG export facility on the Louisiana Gulf Coast, said Meg Gentle, Tellurian’s president and CEO.

“Demand for liquefied natural gas (LNG) grew 13% last year and continues to grow at a pace that will outstrip capacity growth unless we act now and get facilities built,” Gentle said in a statement. “While COVID-19 has slowed the market this year, the market is rebalancing quickly and the underlying fundamentals that support long-term investment in LNG are strengthening.”

Driftwood LNG is a proposed 27.6 million tonnes per annum liquefaction export facility. Set to be located near Lake Charles, La., the project is ready for construction, having received necessary permits and with 30% of engineering with Bechtel completed.

In a statement commenting on his new role, Souki added: “As the world recovers, there is an urgent need to make up for lost time. I am re-engaging to provide additional support to Tellurian, a company I co-founded with Martin Houston, using personal and friends and family funds. I am 100% committed to Tellurian’s success and will be working alongside our President and CEO Meg Gentle, COO Keith Teague, and the most experienced LNG team in the industry to get our first-class project, Driftwood LNG, constructed.”

On June 10, Financial Times reported trouble was flaring for the U.S. LNG company citing Tellurian’s recent 40% reduction to its staff and tumbling share price. The company’s market capitalization has slid below $500 million from $4 billion since it listed, the report said.