Photography courtesy Cheniere Energy


This photo shows the LNG carrier Asia Vision departing Cheniere Energy’s Sabine Pass liquefaction plant Feb. 24 with the facility’s first shipment of liquefied natural gas, marking the start of U.S. shale gas exports. This was also the first export of LNG from the lower 48 states ever. This first “commissioning cargo” to leave the Cameron Parish site was produced from its first liquefaction train; an additional five trains are in various stages of construction and development.


“This historic event opens a new chapter for the country in energy trade and is a significant milestone for Cheniere as we prepare Train 1 for commercial operations,” said Neal Shear, chairman of the board and interim chief executive officer of Cheniere Partners. “This accomplishment would not have been possible without many years of hard work by our employees, our construction partner, Bechtel, other contractors and thousands of workers at the Sabine Pass site.”


According to the classification society American Bureau of Shipping, the Asia Vision was built by Samsung Heavy Industries and delivered in 2014. The ship can carry 160,000 cubic meters of LNG in four Mark III LNG containment tanks from GTT. The vessel also carries the ABS Enviro+ notation, which denotes adherence to advanced standards for environmental protection. The Asia Vision is owned by the energy giant Chevron.


Brazil’s Petrobras received the Asia Vision shipment, which equaled about 96 million cubic meters of natural gas, at its regasification terminal in All Saints’ Bay, Bahia, the Brazilian giant said in a statement. Following regasification at the terminal in Bahia, the fuel will be pumped into Petrobras’ network of gas pipelines to supply Brazil’s domestic market, mainly for use in thermal power plants.


While the first Sabine Pass shipment was bound for Brazil, Gail India Ltd. bought the second shipment from the plant, making it the first Asian importer of U.S. shale gas, Bloomberg reported. The cargo left March 15 on board the LNG tanker Clean Ocean and was expected to be received at the Dabhol import terminal on India’s west coast by mid-April. Gail India is the country’s largest supplier of natural gas.


The third cargo from Sabine Pass was set to go to Brazil on the GasLog Salem later in March. On April 15, the Creole Spirit departed Sabine Pass bound for Portugal, according to Bloomberg, making it the sixth tanker hauling gas from the the terminal in six weeks. Cheniere planned to ship as many as eight cargoes of LNG from its Sabine Pass project by May, the Houston-based company said in a February notice to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.


Each liquefaction train at Sabine Pass is expected to have a nominal production capacity of approximately 4.5 million tonnes per annum (mtpa) of LNG. A subsidiary of Cheniere Partners has entered into six third-party LNG sale and purchase agreements (SPAs) that in the aggregate equate to approximately 19.75 mtpa of LNG and commence with the date of first commercial delivery of Trains 1 through 5.