April 23 (Reuters) - U.S. liquefied natural gas (LNG) company Cheniere Energy Inc said it planned to make a final investment decision to build the third liquefaction train at its Corpus Christi LNG export facility in Texas in the first half of 2018:
* Cheniere said on Friday its Cheniere Corpus Christi Holdings LLC subsidiary engaged financial institutions to arrange up to $6.4 billion of credit facilities. The unit already has about $4.6 billion of existing credit facilities.
* Cheniere said it will use the credit facilities to fund a portion of the costs of developing, constructing and placing into service three 0.7-billion cubic feet per day (bcfd) liquefaction trains and a related pipeline at its Corpus Christie LNG export facility, among other things.
* The company is already building two liquefaction trains at Corpus Christie. One billion cubic feet is enough gas to fuel about five million U.S. homes for a day.
* Cheniere said it expects to close the amended credit facilities, proceed with a final investment decision for Train 3, and issue a notice to proceed to Bechtel, the lead contractor on the Corpus Christie project, for Train 3 in the first half of 2018.
* The move should keep Cheniere at the front of the pack of companies competing to build the next generation of U.S. LNG terminals to meet potential global LNG supply shortfalls in the early 2020s, analysts have said.
* Total U.S. export capacity is expected to rise to 3.9 bcfd by the end of 2018, 8.0 bcfd by the end of 2019 and 10.1 bcfd by the end of 2020 from 3.8 bcfd now, making the country the third biggest LNG exporter by capacity in 2019.
* Cheniere has agreed to sell LNG from Corpus Christie to units of Indonesia’s state-owned oil and gas company Pertamina PT, Spanish power and gas companies Endesa SA , Iberdrola SA and Gas Natural SDG SA, Australian oil and gas company Woodside Petroleum Ltd, French power and gas company Electricite de France (EDF) SA , Portuguese power and gas company EDP Energias de Portugal SA and China’s China National Petroleum Corp Ltd.
* Cheniere’s Sabine Pass project in Louisiana was the first big LNG export facility to enter service in the Lower 48 U.S. states in February 2016. The company currently has four 0.7-bcfd liquefaction trains in service at Sabine Pass and one under construction.
Reporting By Scott DiSavino Editing by Phil Berlowitz