Top Cheniere Executive Joins Ousted CEO's Startup
Meg Gentle, executive vice president of marketing for Cheniere Energy, America's first LNG export firm, has left to join Tellurian Investments – the new startup founded by Cheniere's ousted ex-CEO, Charif Souki.
Gentle will serve as Tellurian's CEO and president; Souki will remain the firm's non-executive chairman and co-founder Martin Houston (formerly of BG Group) will serve as executive vice chairman.
Tellurian intends to build an LNG plant at Lake Charles, Louisiana to compete with Cheniere's existing Sabine Pass facility. The new project, dubbed Driftwood LNG, is in the early stages of the regulatory approval process; Tellurian believes that if approval is granted, construction will begin in two years' time, with operation beginning in 2022. Tellurian believes that its Driftwood proposal will be cost-competitive thanks to a modular design with multiple small production trains, each a fraction of the size of those at Sabine Pass.
Earlier this month Tellurian reached an agreement to acquire NASDAQ-listed Magellan Petroleum, a struggling oil and gas production company that had come close to losing its exchange listing earlier in the year and had been selling assets.
The deal is expected to close by the end of the year. Shares of Tellurian will be converted to the right to 1.30 shares of Magellan, and Magellan will issue 122 million shares of common stock to Tellurian shareholders. The arrangement will give Tellurian's owners 95 percent of Magellan's outstanding common stock.
"With this transaction, we will be able to access more attractive financing in order to develop Driftwood LNG," Martin Houston said in the announcement.
Magellan's shares rose from roughly $1.20 in July to over five dollars following the news.
Tellurian has its roots in Souki's decade-long push to develop LNG export capacity at Cheniere's Sabine Pass and Corpus Christi sites. He was ousted last year following demands from of activist investor Carl Icahn to rein in Cheniere's ambitious expansion plans in the face of falling LNG prices and rising global supply.