US 'to Pressure Paris for LNG Offtake Deal': Press
Washington is seeking to convince Paris to sign up to the NextDecade LNG offtake agreement despite the French objections to locking in methane, according to Politico.
The publication reported earlier this month that French utility Engie was backing away from the $7bn deal under pressure from the government, which is a 24% shareholder. Engie has not yet replied to NGW's question over the rights that the government holds to allow this intervention. However there was no certainty it would succeed in even delaying the deal.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is to lead a campaign to ratchet up the profile of a possible business deal between Engie in France and NextDecade Energy in the US, a source close to Pompeo told Politico.
Several sources on both sides of the Atlantic said the French government's concern was mainly the "life cycle methane content" of US natural gas flowing out of West Texas and New Mexico, the region where NextDecade would obtain the supplies to be exported. NextDecade is planning to strip out 90% of the carbon emissions initially from its liquefaction, although the source gas comes from a mix of fields.
The Energy Department has said that US gas exports have helped reduce carbon emissions in countries that had been using coal or oil to generate electricity, but that argument does not hold in France where nuclear is dominant and coal and oil barely used as gas is cheaper.
Engie itself sold off much of its higher carbon businesses around the world when Isabelle Kocher was CEO – and too cheaply for the French government's liking, which led reportedly to her dismissal earlier this year.