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    Cheniere projecting $20bn of cash flow through 2026


Cash from Cheniere's existing Gulf of Mexico liquefaction portfolio will drive further expansion without endangering its investment-grade credit rating.

by: Callum Cyrus

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Cheniere projecting $20bn of cash flow through 2026

Cheniere Energy on September 12 revealed it is forecasting $20bn of available cash for its balance sheet through 2026, and the third-phase launch at its Corpus Christi LNG export terminal that year.

A positive FID was awarded recently for seven 1.49mn mt/yr liquefaction trains as part of the Texas terminal's latest phase, set to bring Corpus Christi's nominal LNG output to 25mn mt/yr, with an envisaged 2025-end start date.

Corpus Christi entered service in 2019 and currently has three production trains, producing up to 15mn mt/yr. The third phase development coincides with efforts to balance Cheniere's capital and debt flows, aiming to help maintain its investment rating with key debt agencies.

Cheniere sees its investment grade as a priority for accelerated LNG export growth through to the middle of the decade and beyond. Longer-term projects include two further midscale production units and new above-ground storage capacity at Corpus Christi, Cheniere having started pre-filing papers for both items August 19.

A further build out will extend the upside from revenue generation on existing Cheniere LNG exports, from both Corpus Christi and Sabine Pass on the Gulf of Mexico. Ultimately, Cheniere expects revenue to help pay down debt bringing its leverage ratio to around 4x.

Full-year EBITDA guidance for 2022 was revised upwards to $11bn-$11.5bn,from $9.8bn-$10.3bn, on the back of multiple LNG shipments now set to go out before December end, having been brought forward from 2023.

Cheniere's LNG cargo tally was up by almost one fifth (18%) yr/yr at the end of 1H 2022, in terms of volumes Cheniere sent out 758 TBtu versus 632 TBtu from January to June 2021. The higher financial guidance also reflects sustained margin increases expected on Cheniere LNG shipments for the remainder of this year.

Cheniere also announced an upscaled $4bn share buyback programme that has been extended out by a further three years, aimed at repurchasing at least 10% of its market equity.

Jack Fusco, president and CEO of Cheniere, said: "Today’s revised capital allocation plan marks another significant milestone for Cheniere and reflects the success achieved by the Cheniere team, particularly in terms of operational excellence and safety.

"The accelerated progress on our 2021 plan would not have been possible without the hard work and dedication of our entire workforce.”