Repsol challenges Venture Global LNG over failure to supply gas, ET EnergyWorld

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HOUSTON: Spain’s Repsol SA has asked an international tribunal to require U.S. gas exporter Venture Global LNG to fulfill its contract for liquefied natural gas or compensate it, according to two people familiar with the matter.

It is the fourth European customer to pursue an arbitration case against the U.S. developer over its failure to supply cargoes from a plant that has been running for 18 months. Venture Global LNG has said the plant is not fully operational due to faulty power equipment.

But Venture Global LNG has sold more than 200 cargoes into the spot market at higher prices than available under long-term contracts with BP, Shell, Eddison SpA and others. Those customers claim the U.S. firm has used the equipment problems to capitalize on the rally in global gas markets since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Venture Global has told Repsol that it will not be able to provide it cargoes before the end of 2024 or even early 2025, the person familiar with the matter said.

Repsol’s contract arbitration case was accepted by the International Chamber of Commerce earlier this month and a three member panel named to consider the dispute. It wants Venture Global LNG to provide cargoes or pay more than $100 million for fuel not delivered, one of people familiar with the matter said.

A Venture Global LNG spokesperson did not immediately respond to a request for comment. An attorney for Repsol did not reply to a request for comment.

An attorney familiar with the U.S. company’s sales and purchase agreements said the arbitration cases face an uphill battle. Venture Global LNG contracts give it sole discretion to determine the start of commercial operations, the person said.

Federal Energy Regulatory Commission rules also do not specify a limited commissioning period, allowing Venture Global LNG to keep shipping fuel outside of its long-term contracts. Typical commissioning periods are one to three months, industry experts have said.

“Our good name, our contracts allowed them to raise billions of dollars in financing for that plant,” said an official who requested anonymity because of another case involving Venture Global LNG. “We are losing enormous money because of this.”

  • Published On Sep 21, 2023 at 11:52 AM IST

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