Companies exporting liquefied natural gas (LNG) are posting huge gains as they strategize to massively expand operations to capitalize on the move away from Russian gas.
A Food & Water Watch analysis of first-quarter financial records shows four of the most prominent companies — Cheniere, EQT, Tellurian and Total — saw substantial increases in sales, earnings and share buybacks. Shares in the company held by CEOs also rose in value.
Cheniere, the country’s largest LNG company, exported a record amount of gas in the first quarter of this year and recorded revenues of $7.4 billion, more than doubling its transportation from the last year. The vast majority of this revenue comes from their LNG business. The value of shares held by CEO Jack Fusco jumped $30 million in the first three months of the year, and the company repurchased about a quarter of a million shares for $25 million.
Houston-based Tellurian generated about $146 million in gas revenue, of which about $120 million came from its LNG business. This is a substantial increase from last year’s first quarter total of $8.7 million. The company has a direct connection to the White House: Amos Hochstein, senior energy security adviser at the State Department, was executive vice president at Tellurian just before joining the Biden administration. Hochstein, who still owns a sizable stock in the company, currently helps lead the US-EU Energy Security Task Force, a secret body that plays a key role in promoting LNG exports.
Pittsburgh-based EQT is pushing an aggressive public relations campaign called Unleash US LNG, which it calls “the biggest green initiative on the planet.” The company is calling for the country’s LNG capacity to be quadrupled over the next eight years. Unlike other major players, EQT posted losses in the first quarter, some of which were attributable to its focus on reducing its debt. The company says it sold more gas at higher prices than last year. In the first quarter of this year, CEO Toby Rice saw the value of his EQT stock appreciate by nearly $9 million. The company spent about $200 million to buy back shares.
France’s TotalEnergies, which is the world’s second-largest LNG company, reported adjusted net profit of $9 billion, a massive jump from last year’s total of $3 billion for the same period. . The company’s gas sales increased by approximately 34% over the previous year. The company spent $1 billion during the quarter to repurchase shares of the company.