The Cameron LNG project has achieved first liquefied natural gas (LNG) production from train 1, French energy major Total said on 14 May. The second-largest private global LNG player, Total said the $10 billion Cameron Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) export facility in Cameron Parish, Louisiana, would begin exports in the coming weeks.

“The start-up of the LNG production marks an important milestone for the Cameron LNG project,” Total Chairman and CEO Patrick Pouyanné said in a statement. “This achievement is the result of work carried out by all of the teams and project partners. Total’s commitment to Cameron LNG and its expansion is in line with our strategy to continue building a strong position in the US LNG market. With Cameron LNG start-up, we will achieve our target of being integrated along the gas value chain in the US since we are already a gas producer in the country,” he added.

US Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland and European Commission Vice-President for Energy Union Maroš Šefčovič joined US President Donald J. Trump on a trip to the LNG export facility in Cameron Parish, Louisiana.

“And today (14 May), we celebrate the amazing workers at Sempra Energy as you open the Cameron LNG Export Facility for business,” Trump said. “From right here in Hackberry, Louisiana, you will very soon be exporting clean, American natural gas all over the globe,” he added.

“And we have some of our big people from our around the world because you’re going to be selling energy all around the world. Louisiana starts here and then it goes around the world. Our Ambassador to the European Union, Gordon Sondland. Thank you, Gordon. Where is he? Great job. Good,” Trump said. “And he brought along with the Vice President of the European Commission, Maroš Šefčovič. Maroš, thank you very much. Thank you,” Trump said.

“The United States has now been a net exporter of natural gas for two straight years, and our net energy imports are at the lowest level that we’ve had in over 60 years. In other words, bringing it in. The lowest in 60 years,” Trump said.

Before departing Brussels, Sondland and Šefčovič spoke to a group of reporters about the importance of US-EU cooperation. “The United States is going to play a critical and important role in Europe’s future energy needs, and this will end the Russian stranglehold over European energy,” Sondland said. “We think this is very much a ‘Berlin Wall moment’ in that this is the beginning of the end of single source dominance of energy to Europe.”

Šefčovič hailed this “very important moment” as “transatlantic cooperation at its best,” adding “the Cameron LNG project is tangible proof of our strategic partnership in energy security.”

“I think that we see already today that [U.S.] LNG is competitive,” Šefčovič said. According to Šefčovič, in general, what Europe seeks is reliable suppliers, fair competition with no political strings attached, and competitive prices.

Total entered the Cameron LNG project through the acquisition of Engie’s upstream LNG business in 2018. Phase 1 of the Cameron LNG project of 13.5 million tonnes per annum (Mtpa) capacity includes three LNG trains of 4.5 Mtpa each. Construction is ongoing for trains 2 and 3 with the first production expected by the turn of the year and mid-2020 respectively.

The project is operated by Cameron LNG LLC jointly owned by Sempra Energy (50.2%), Total (16.6%), Mitsui & Co., Ltd. (16.6%) and Mitsubishi/NYK (16.6%).

In addition, the Cameron LNG co-owners are currently discussing a potential expansion of the base project, already authorized by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), that would add two liquefaction trains of 4.5 Mtpa capacity each and two LNG storage tanks.