Lafayette’s Louisiana Natural Gas Exports Inc. is making headlines for its dealings in Ukrainian gas.
Last week, Time.com published a story later confirmed by Politico that federal prosecutors had probed Energy Secretary Rick Perry’s efforts to broker a $20 billion contract for the company to deliver U.S. liquefied natural gas to Naftogaz, the company at the center of a controversy involving presidential candidate Joe Biden’s son, Hunter.
Houston oil and gas executive Robert Bensh, who is now set to join the board of Naftogaz, has been promoting LNGE to delivery U.S. liquefied natural gas to the Ukraine state-owned natural gas company. The Time.com story details how Marsden Miller, listed as the company’s co-founder and director, is related to Bensh by marriage.
According to Time.com, the plan was to ship U.S. gas via Poland to Ukraine and resell it in the European Union to make money for LNGE and Energy Transfer, which has a permit to build a gas export terminal in Lake Charles and was seeking a long-term supply deal for its product.
In early March, representatives of LNGE met with Perry’s successor as Energy Secretary, Louisiana native Dan Brouillette. “He told us they were still 100% behind the deal,” one of the LNGE representatives who was at that meeting told Time.com. The Energy Department denies it supported the deal.
Later, a 20-year memorandum of intent worth a projected $20 billion was signed, but talks have stalled. Involved parties are waiting to see what happens in the November election.
The latest development in the saga happened on Monday, when, as Reuters reports, Ukrainian energy minister Olga Buslavets alleged in a televised briefing that Louisiana Natural Gas Exports Inc. has refused to cooperate with Ukraine over the supply of at least 5.5 billion cubic metres of liquefied natural gas a year.
“Our position is and always has been if there is a serious desire for a long-term contract to import U.S. LNG into Ukraine, we are interested,” Louisiana Natural Gas Exports CEO Ben Blanchet told Reuters, declining further comment.