(Reuters) -U.S. liquefied natural gas (LNG) company Cheniere Energy reported third-quarter profit on Thursday that beat analysts’ estimates even as it grappled with lower natural gas prices and export volumes.
The company, whose shares were up about 2.3% to $172.50 in morning trade, said results for the quarter included a $1.4 billion gain related to the value of its derivatives portfolio.
Cheniere’s LNG volumes fell to 548 trillion British thermal units (TBtu), compared with 559 TBtu in the year-earlier period.
The company reported a profit of $7.03 per share, compared with estimates of $2.53, according to LSEG data.
Cheniere reaffirmed its full-year earnings forecast of between $8.3 billion and $8.8 billion. CEO Jack Fusco said the company was “confident in achieving full year 2023 results at the high end of guidance ranges.”
Cheniere posted revenue of $4.2 billion for the third quarter, compared with $8.9 billion a year earlier. The company said the fall in revenue was due to lower gas pricing at the U.S. Henry Hub benchmark.
U.S. gas prices were down about 60% in the July-September quarter versus the same period last year as U.S. production continued to rise and concerns eased over energy security in Europe.
Separately, Cheniere said it has entered into an agreement to supply about 0.9 million tonnes per annum (MTPA) of LNG to Chinese gas company Foran Energy Group for 20 years.
Deliveries will commence upon the start of commercial operations of liquefaction Train 8 at Sabine Pass in Louisiana.
NEW LIQUEFACTION TRAINS COMING
Cheniere has not yet made a final investment decision to add Trains 7-9 at Sabine, but if it decides to do so, the company has agreed to sell about 0.8 MTPA of LNG to European chemical company BASF starting in mid-2026 upon substantial completion of Sabine 7.
Cheniere is the biggest U.S. buyer of gas and the biggest U.S. exporter of LNG with the capacity to produce about 45 MTPA of LNG at Corpus Christi in Texas and Sabine.
The company is also building new liquefaction trains at Corpus that will add over 10 MTPA of capacity between 2025-2027, and is developing expansions that could add roughly 20 MTPA at Sabine and 3 MTPA at Corpus.
Cheniere said the Corpus Stage 3 expansion was ahead of schedule and could potentially produce first LNG by the end of 2024.
Cheniere said in its earnings presentation that global LNG imports to Europe in August and September slipped below 2022’s highs.
In Asia, year-over-year LNG imports in the third quarter were up to China, India and Thailand but down to Japan, South Korea and Taiwan.
Looking ahead, Cheniere expects global LNG demand will grow over 3% per annum through 2040, driven by rising demand in developing Asian economies.
That growth will require additional supplies of LNG after 2027, with the supply/demand gap expected to reach about 135 MTPA in 2040, Cheniere said.
(Reporting by Mrinalika Roy in Bengaluru and Scott DiSavino in New York; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta and Jonathan Oatis)