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Cheniere Energy (LNG) Inks LNG Export Deal with Lithuania

Zacks Equity Research

U.S.-based natural gas exporter Cheniere Energy, Inc. LNG recently inked a deal to export liquefied natural gas to Lithuania's state-owned gas trader Lietuvos Duju Tiekimas. The company expects to deliver the first U.S. LNG cargo by the second half of August.  

The deal is part of Lithuania’s efforts to reduce its dependence on Russian energy giant Gazprom and thereby diversify its gas suppliers. The Baltic EU nation has also been recommending neighboring countries to reduce their natural gas reliance on Gazprom to lower energy prices. Lithuania weakened the oil giant’s monopoly over gas supply to Baltic nations by creating a floating LNG Terminal in the Baltic Sea coast in 2014 and importing natural gas from Norwegian integrated energy player Statoil ASA STO.

This is the first LNG import deal that Lithuania signed with the U.S., adding to the long list of buyers of U.S.’s LNG supply. With the energy production boom in U.S., the nation is likely to become the world’s largest LNG supplier by 2035, transcending Australia and Qatar.

With domestic prices remaining constrained due to abundant supplies, Cheniere Energy sees a big opportunity in selling U.S. natural gas production at higher prices overseas. Interestingly, the company is the only LNG exporter of the U.S. and plans to turn the natural gas glut into export revolution.

Cheniere Energy commenced its LNG cargo exports in early 2016 and currently exports natural gas to around 20 countries including Latin America, Europe, Asia, Middle East, Japan, Korea, India and others. Earlier this month, the company dispatched LNG cargoes to Rotterdam in South Holland. Recently, Poland also decreased its dependence on Gazprom, major supplier of Poland’s natural gas requirements. This month, the country received its first LNG delivery from Cheniere.  A couple of days back Cheniere Energy also announced the dispatch of the first cargo of liquefied natural gas under its 20-year contract with South Korean government-owned KOGAS.

With its first-mover advantage in the LNG export market, Cheniere Energy is primed for significant revenues and earnings growth. The shares of the company have rallied around 30% in the past one year, outperforming the broader Zacks categorized Oil and Gas - United States - Exploration and Production industry’s 23% decline.

Zacks Rank & Key Pick

Cheniere Energy, carrying a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold), is primarily engaged in liquefied natural gas-related businesses. The company owns and operates the Sabine Pass liquefied natural gas terminal in Louisiana through its 57.9% ownership interest in and management agreements with Cheniere Energy Partners, L.P. CQP.

Viper Energy Partners LP VNOM is one of the top-ranked players in the same industry, sporting a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.

Viper Energy Partners delivered a positive earnings surprise in each of the trailing four quarters, the average being 20.35%.

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