[Editor's note: this story was updated at 7:54 a.m. CST Feb. 27.]
Cheniere Energy Inc. (AMEX: LNG), the largest U.S. LNG exporter, sued its former chairman and CEO, Charif Souki, alleging he conspired to help finance a joint venture that led to the formation of rival Tellurian Inc. (NASDAQ: TELL).
Cheniere is seeking repayment of a $46 million loan to Parallax Enterprises LLC that Souki helped arrange in 2015, plus unspecified damages, according to a case filed in Texas state court on Feb. 15.
Cheniere loaned money to Parallax to develop two liquefaction plants in Louisiana.
In its civil lawsuit, filed in Harris County, Texas, Cheniere alleged Souki and Parallax's owner Martin Houston put a plan together in December 2015 to close Parallax, without repaying Cheniere, but continue its operations through a new company that became Tellurian.
Souki and Houston did not immediately respond to requests for comment. Cheniere and Tellurian declined to comment.
Cheniere's board voted to remove Souki as the company's CEO and chairman on Dec. 12, 2015 due to disagreements over his expansion plans, under pressure from activist investor Carl Icahn. In February 2016 he also resigned as a director.
Souki and Houston formed Tellurian less than two weeks later.
Souki is now chairman of Tellurian, which is developing an LNG export plant in Louisiana called Driftwood.
RELATED: Why Tellurian Loves Haynesville: It’s Close, Prolific, Cheap
Cheniere claimed Driftwood is materially the same project as one of the plants Parallax was developing with money from Cheniere, but Tellurian has said it is not the same.
There are dozens of LNG export projects under development in North America. Many analysts expect Driftwood to be one of the few that will get built over the next several years.
Cheniere filed suit against Parallax in federal court in Texas in February 2016 to recover the money it loaned. Parallax, meanwhile, sued Cheniere in a Louisiana state court in March 2016 for breach of contract to develop the plants. The claims in those and other lawsuits ended up in a Texas state court. That case is currently set to begin in June.
Both Tellurian and Cheniere have said in federal filings that they do not expect resolution of the litigation will have a material effect on their financial results.
The Cheniere case against Souki is Cheniere Energy et al v. Charif Souki, Harris County District Court, No. 2019-11529.
Danny Rice-led SPAC Completes $2 B NET Power Merger
2023-06-08 - Former Rice Energy Inc. CEO Danny Rice will now lead a power generation company, NET Power, backed by Occidental Petroleum, Baker Hughes, SK Group and other investors.
Ameresco, Atura Selected to Build Battery Storage System
2023-06-08 - Canada’s IESO expects Ontario’s energy storage capacity to increase dramatically as a partial result of the 250 MW system.
Asset Manager to Vote Against $18.8 B ONEOK-Magellan Deal
2023-06-08 - Asset manager Energy Income Partners says the taxes on ONEOK’s deal to buy Magellan Midstream Partners will exceed the premium offered by ONEOK or any potential benefits from a combination.
Bloom and Perenco Sign Solid Oxide Fuel Cell Storage Agreement
2023-06-07 - The agreement between Bloom Energy and Perenco marks the first deployment of Bloom’s fuel cell tech in the U.K.
ConocoPhillips to Raise Stake in Australia’s APLNG
2023-03-28 - ConocoPhillips currently holds a 47.5% stake in APLNG, one of the largest suppliers of natural gas to Australia’s East Coast. Origin and China’s Sinopec hold the remaining shares in APLNG.