U.S. LNG company Cheniere Energy Inc. said on Nov. 24 its marketing arm agreed to sell LNG to a unit of Chinese natural gas distribution company Foran Energy Group Co Ltd. for 20 years starting in January 2023.

Analysts said the deal should move Cheniere closer to making a final investment decision (FID) to build the proposed Stage 3 expansion at its Corpus Christi plant in Texas, which is expected in 2022.

The deal is one of several announced in recent weeks as LNG buyers seek to lock in long-term prices and supplies of the super-cooled fuel as global energy shortages have boosted prices to record highs.

Utilities around the world are competing for LNG cargoes to fill extremely low gas stockpiles in Europe ahead of the winter heating season and meet insatiable demand for the fuel in Asia where coal and gas shortages have caused power blackouts in China.

Over the past couple of months, Cheniere has signed agreements to sell LNG to units of French energy company Engie SA, Anglo-Swiss mining and commodities trading firm Glencore PLC, Chinese gas distribution company ENN Natural Gas Co Ltd and chemical and fertilizer producer Sinochem.

Cheniere said Foran will buy about 0.3 million tonnes per annum (mtpa) of LNG at a price indexed to the U.S. Henry Hub benchmark in Louisiana plus a fee.

Stage 3 would add up to seven mid-scale liquefaction trains that would produce around 10 mtpa of LNG.

Analysts at Tudor, Pickering, Holt and Co said in a note on Wednesday that Cheniere has already sold about 80% of the LNG Stage 3 could produce.

Cheniere is already the biggest buyer of gas in the United States and the biggest U.S. exporter of LNG with the capacity to produce about 45 MTPA of LNG.