Reports: Saudi Arabia Places Huge Bet on U.S. Natural Gas

Saudi Aramco announced a preliminary agreement on Wednesday to buy 5 million tons of liquefied natural gas per year in a deal with U.S.-based Sempra LNG, according to reports.

The move is a “new strategy” for Aramco and highlights “the growing importance of the United States as an energy exporter,” the New York Times reports.

Sempra Energy and Saudi Aramco.

Sempra Energy and Saudi Aramco.

The deal, if completed, the purchase “would be one of the largest LNG deals ever signed,” according to CNN, which cited consulting firm Wood Mackenzie.

“The agreement with Sempra LNG is a major step forward in Saudi Aramco’s long term strategy to become a leading global LNG player. With global demand for LNG expected to grow by around 4% per year, and likely to exceed 500 million metric tons a year by 2035, we see significant opportunities in this market and we will continue to pursue strategic partnerships which enable us to meet rising global demand for LNG,” Amin Nasser, Saudi Aramco’s CEO and President, said.

The proposed Port Arthur LNG Phase 1 project is “expected to include two liquefaction trains, up to three LNG storage tanks and associated facilities that should enable the export of approximately 11 Mtpa of LNG on a long-term basis,” according to a press release issued by Sempra. “Port Arthur LNG could be one of the largest LNG export projects in North America, with potential expansion capabilities up to eight liquefaction trains or approximately 45 Mtpa of capacity.”

Last year, Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman visited Port Arthur, Texas, as part of a whirlwind weeks-long tour of the United States.