Cheniere loss steeper than expected, sees Texas Corpus 3 complete in Q1 2021

(Reuters) - Cheniere Energy Inc LNG.A on Friday reported a loss that was deeper than analysts had forecast, and said it expects to complete train three at its Corpus Christi liquefied natural gas (LNG) export plant in Texas in the first quarter of 2021.

Previously, Cheniere said it expected to complete Corpus 3 in the first half of 2021.

In what has been a tough year for the LNG industry due to coronavirus demand destruction, Cheniere said it lost $1.84 per share in the third quarter, deeper than the 33 cents per share loss analysts estimated and wider than the $1.25 per share loss in the third quarter last year.

The company said it sent out 55 LNG cargoes in the third quarter of 2020 versus 108 in the same period last year mostly as customers canceled cargoes.

Cheniere said it still plans to complete the sixth train at Sabine Pass in Louisiana in the second half of 2022.

Cheniere said Corpus 3 was 96.7% complete and Sabine 6 was 70.9% complete. Each train will be capable of producing about 5 million tonnes per annum (MTPA) of LNG.

“As we look ahead to 2021, we expect the global LNG market to continue rebalancing and look forward to the completion of Train 3 at Corpus Christi ahead of schedule and within budget,” Cheniere CEO Jack Fusco said.

The company reaffirmed 2020 guidance and introduced 2021 guidance that analysts said was in line with expectations.

Cheniere shares were down 3.5% to $34.35 in midday trade on Friday.

The company said it expects to commence construction of the Corpus Stage 3 expansion upon, among other things, entering into a construction contract and additional commercial agreements, and obtaining adequate financing.

Separately, a unit of Chinese gas company Foran Energy Group Co Ltd 002911.SZ said it signed a deal to buy LNG from Cheniere.

Reporting by Scott DiSavino. Editing by David Gregorio, Jane Merriman, Chizu Nomiyama and Louise Heavens