In October 2020, the French government blocked a $7 billion deal between Engie, a partially state-owned French energy enterprise, and NextDecade, a U.S. liquefied natural gas (LNG) company, because the gas was too dirty. But recently, it was revealed that a new, 11-year deal was quietly signed for that same fuel last June—this time between Engie and Cheniere Energy, a different U.S. LNG company.
Most of the details of the new deal came from a recently unsealed letter by the U.S. Energy Department, in which Cheniere asks for “confidential treatment” of the purchase. Neither company has announced the agreement, and Cheniere has declined comment on the multibillion-dollar LNG deal. Meanwhile, French news outlets have reported that Engie did its best to keep things “under the radar” and might have gone so far as to use a code name to limit publicity.
The seeming about-face is evidence that the oil and gas landscape is evolving. Some exporters, such as Cheniere, have been able to position themselves as responsible companies. For instance, Cheniere has launched initiatives to work more closely with natural gas suppliers on managing greenhouse gas emissions. Its operations also go beyond the proposed methane regulations of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and the company has even gone so far as to promise carbon-neutral LNG shipments to Europe (though it’s not clear how many).
Source: FP (Foreign Policy)
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