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Tellurian Explores Sale of Upstream Business to Finance Driftwood LNG

Feb 6 (Reuters) - Tellurian is exploring the sale of its Haynesville upstream business, the liquefied natural gas (LNG) firm said on Tuesday, as it looks to raise capital for its Driftwood LNG project.

The company has been trying to develop a 27.6 million metric-tons-per-annum LNG plant, which has suffered multiple delays, in Lake Charles, Louisiana, and earlier said it sought help with balance sheet management and commercial structures.

"By unlocking the full value of these high-quality assets, we aim to substantially reduce our debt, further reduce our general and administrative expenses, and provide additional cash, enabling us to develop Driftwood LNG," CEO Octávio Simões said.

Tellurian is one of a few companies that has all of its approvals for the production and export of LNG from countries not covered by U.S. free trade deals. It has however not been able to attract the commercial support for the Driftwood project and is yet to give the financial green light to the project.

In its third quarter report, Tellurian said its Haynesville asset could be worth $365 million. However, U.S. natural gas prices have fallen significantly from 2022 levels and traded Monday at about $2.08 per thousand cubic feet, down from an average of $6.50 per thousand cubic feet for 2022.

Tellurian reported third-quarter 2023 production of 19.5 billion cubic feet equivalent, and upstream segment results generated adjusted earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) of $18.3 million and an annualized EBITDA of $73.2 million.

Tellurian ousted its chairman and co-founder Charif Souki late last year after auditors raised doubts about the company's ability to cover future expenses.

At an investor presentation last year, the company had said it could sell the first six months' worth of its LNG output to help finance the Driftwood project.

The company said it has asked its financial advisor, Lazard, to explore opportunities for the sale.

Although natural gas prices have slumped in recent months, dealmaking interest remains strong in the Haynesville business, which provides producers with access to deep reserves and proximity to export capacity along the U.S. Gulf Coast.

U.S. oil major Chevron in recent days launched a sale of around 71,000 net acres concentrated in East Texas and producing 48 million cubic feet equivalent of natural gas per day, according to documents seen by Reuters.

Chevron's assets could fetch around $200 million, an industry source said. Reuters reported in November that Chevron was planning a sale of these assets as it progresses a five year divestitures program.

Chevron was not immediately available for comment.

Reporting by Tanay Dhumal in Bengaluru;Curtis Williams in Houston and Shariq Khan in New York; Editing by Shailesh Kuber and Mark Potter

Source: Reuters

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