Aerial view of new Cameron LNG plant
An aerial view of the Cameron LNG plant in Louisana. Photo by Lonnie Duka for Sempra Energy

A liquefied natural gas project by Sempra Energy took a major step forward this week as Russia’s threat to cut energy supplies to Europe drives up demand for U.S. sources of the vital fuel.

The San Diego-based company on Thursday reached a preliminary agreement to supply France’s TotalEnergies with gas from Vista Pacifico LNG, Sempra’s second LNG plant on the Baja California coast.

“With last week’s energy accord between the U.S. and European Commission, alliances between some of the leading energy companies like TotalEnergies and Sempra are increasingly important to transatlantic trade and energy security,” said Jeffrey W. Martin, chairman and CEO of Sempra.

Fracking has made the United States the world’s largest producer of natural gas, but for shipments overseas gas must be cooled to a liquid state at -260 degrees in giant plants and transported by special vessels.

Sempra and TotalEnergies are already participants in two joint-venture projects: Cameron LNG in Hackberry, Louisiana, and Energia Costa Azul LNG Phase 1 in Baja.

Last week, the Biden administration said the U.S. will aim to supply European buyers this year with an additional 15 billion cubic meters of LNG to replace Russian gas imports as the West seeks to punish Moscow for its invasion of Ukraine.

Reuters contributed to this article.

Chris Jennewein

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.