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W|EPC: Assessing Force Majeure Impact on Calcasieu (Venture Global), Golden Pass (Exxon, QP) & Sabine (Cheniere)

Webber Research – Energy EPC

Marco & Laura Impact Could Last 7 to 14 Days…Depending on Damage & Craft Labor Retention

EPC contractors receive schedule relief for Force Majeure (FM) events (i.e. named storms such as Marco & Laura) in industry standard EPC contracts, which typically provides EPC contractors schedule relief but not cost relief.

EPC contractor FM claims on Calcasieu Pass, Golden Pass, and Sabine Pass LNG likely started yesterday August 24th, 2020 (due to mandatory evacuations & closures).
Something to watch…construction workers tend to scatter and chase higher paying (wages & per-diem) jobs post hurricanes/natural disasters, which creates headaches for on-going/planned projects and complicates FM claims.
Based on current Marco & Laura forecasts and expected rain/storm surge, we are forecasting a 7 to 14-day construction schedule delay on Calcasieu Pass LNG (CPLNG), Golden Pass LNG, & Sabine Pass LNG Train #6 (SPLNG6).

Impact & Timeline Implications

Often, impacts due to hurricanes occur well beyond the actual storm itself due to lost productivity and challenges restarting/staffing the project.

Flooding – enough drainage pumps installed and site drainage working sufficient to mitigate additional rain fall.
Storm Surge – levees/walls high enough to protect rising levels and all equipment moved to the highest elevation on the site (if practical).
Wind – cranes must be placed horizontally and structures secured to reduce/prevent damage.
Temporary Construction Facilities – if levees and/or drainage are not in place at temporary construction facilities, equipment and material stored in laydown yards/facilities could be damaged by water and cause unplanned long-term issues.

EPC contractors have a reputation for trying to use FM impacts to absorb existing self-inflicted schedule delays. Based on the current/expected forecast, we believe the following FM timeline is realistic.
Prep time for storms – 1 to 3 days
Marco & Laura storm duration – 2 to 4 days
Restart & productivity losses – 4 to 7 days

Our specific estimates and thoughts on individual projects in the pages that follow:

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W|EPC: Force Majeure & The LNG Supply Chain: Scenarios For BH, Kiewit, & Venture Global

Reviewing Satellite Images Of Italian Fabrication Yards & Force Majeure Flow Charts

• Supply Chain Overview                                                                                    Pages 1-2
• Satellite Images: BH’s Fabrication Yard In Avenza, Italy                              Pages 2-4
• Implications Of Calcasieu’s Unique Contractual/Structural Dynamics     Pages 3-5
• Force Majeure Flow Charts: Wrapped vs Unwrapped                                Pages 4-5
• Pertinent Questions From Here                                                                       Pages 5-6

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The LNG Supply Chain & Force Majeure Dominoes. Given the continued, rolling implications of the global response to COVID-19, we thought it was worthwhile to examine potential points of friction as it pertains to the implications of Force Majeure (FM) declarations on large-scale, multi-faceted LNG export projects. We believe such a scenario is relevant for Venture Global’s Calcasieu Pass (CPLNG) project given its globally linked supply chain – including its liquefaction modules which are being fabricated at a Baker Hughes (BH) fabrication facility in Avenza, Italy. (Satellite images on Pages 2-4)

Venture Global’s Potential FM Predicament Is Unique. A typical, fully wrapped, EPC contract would typically just keep an owner on the hook for extensions to a contractor’s guaranteed completion date. However, the less expensive, decentralized contracting structure that Venture Global has assembled for CPLNG could potentially expose the project to contractors looking to recover mitigation and prolongation costs. (Pages 2-4)

Implications Of FM Claim For BH, Kiewit, & VG. We believe work on CPLNG’s modules was still progressing last week (with non-essential personnel working from home), given the escalation in restrictions we believe those productivity dynamics are (justifiably) fluid. Should BH file a successful FM claim, it would most likely be granted… (Pages 3-6)

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LNG Update: Coronavirus Force Majeure — Context, Data, and Exposure

Corona-Related Force Majeure: Highlights From Our Recent LNG Update

  • Chinese LNG Contractual Exposure – SPA Breakdown By Counterparty                          Pages 2, 5-9
  • Historical Context – SARS, 6 Previous Global Health Emergencies                                    Page 2
  • NT Flash Points – 16 LNG Carriers Set To Call In China, Details                                           Page 3
  • Logistical Headwinds – Trucked LNG Data, Breakdown                                                        Pages 4-5     
  • Force Majeure Language Cheniere (LNG)                                                                             Pages 10-12           

Coronavirus Puts Force Majeure In Play For Chinese Contracts: After days of speculation that Chinese LNG importers (CNOOC, Sinopec, CNPC) were considering invoking contractual force majeure clauses in their LNG contracts, CNOOC (China’s largest LNG importer – Figure 1) announced it had issued force majeure notices to their suppliers due to fallout from the coronavirus (nCoV). Total has reportedly rejected CNOOC’s notice of force majeure, setting up what we expect to be a continued string of notices and conflicting rhetoric, as the relatively opaque process plays out in a weakened and nervous LNG market, and amid the Q419 earnings cycle. While the ultimate impact of these contractual disputes is unclear – ranging from timeline delays (EPC), non-payment, and beyond — what does seem clear is that the issue should continue to build. As noted in Figure 3 – there are 16 LNG vessels scheduled to discharge in China over the next 5 business days, and we’d expect additional contractual flash points ahead.

Validity To Be Determined. We hope to get more clarity on the validity of force majeure claims in the coming days — particularly as they pertain to DES (fixed destination) and FOB cargos (flexible destinations — like Cheniere’s) which can be diverted to unaffected markets. We would think it’s less likely Cheniere’s FOB cargoes would be impacted by force majeure issues at the geographical origin of the original purchaser, given their inherent flexibility.

More Than Just A Demand Headwind In China. It’s also worth noting that Corona issues go beyond simply demand destruction within the Chinese market. Given pipeline infrastructure limitations in China, significant volumes of LNG are trucked to end users (Figures 4 & 5), which also brings logistical issues to the forefront, as there’s likely a similar lag in LNG truck drivers returning to work as those in factories and mills following the Lunar New Year holiday and quarantine efforts by the Chinese government. The risks also expand beyond volume-based LNG contracts, with shipyards, hard-asset delay schedules and tangential energy infrastructure also potentially impacted. Late yesterday gas producer Energean noted TechnipFMC had claimed corona-related force majeure on a FPSO meant for an Israeli offshore project

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