In the space of just a week the international market for LNG took several major steps toward the long-sought goal of a high-volume, highly liquid, global trade like that of crude oil.

On Sept. 3, Freeport LNG shipped its first cargo and also secured a new equity partner. The next day CME Group, parent of the Chicago and New York mercantile exchanges, announced it would begin trading an LNG futures contract on Oct. 14 pending regulatory review. Then Freeport secured additional financing for its planned fourth train.

While the first cargo out of Freeport is an important milestone for that facility, it is the investments in its growth—both equity and debt—as well as the start of futures trading on a major global exchange, that emphasize the new status of North American LNG on the international energy market.

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