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Shell Joins BP in Playground Squabble Over Venture Global LNG’s Toy Box

Posted by John Donovan: 5 Jan 2024

In what seems like a scene straight out of a corporate soap opera, Shell PLC has decided to buddy up with BP PLC in their ongoing tiff with Venture Global LNG. The bone of contention? Access to the apparently exclusive club of liquefied natural gas (LNG) supplies, from which Shell and BP feel unjustly barred. This drama, worth more than a whopping $18 billion in superchilled gas exports, was recently aired out in a filing with U.S. regulators.

Venture Global’s Calcasieu Pass, which sounds more like a secret handshake than an export facility, has been playing the elusive host, producing and selling LNG for over 20 months. Meanwhile, Shell, BP, and their band of energy cronies, including Edison SpA, Polish state firm Orlen, and Spain’s Repsol, have been left knocking at the door, claiming they’ve been ghosted on their term-contract cargoes. Being told that the plant is still ‘getting ready’ – a.k.a. in the commissioning phase – doesn’t sit well with them.

Shell sent a heartfelt letter to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) on Tuesday, essentially asking the U.S. regulator to give Venture Global a stern talking-to and make them share their commissioning data. You know, to figure out why they’re being left out of the LNG party.

Shell, in their letter, criticized Venture Global’s “unprecedented and inexplicable” process of commissioning, which sounds like they’re accusing them of conducting a secret ritual rather than standard operational procedures. Shell’s indignation is palpable: “Why won’t they let us see what’s behind the curtain?”

Venture Global LNG, meanwhile, seems to be having a field day, having sold more than 200 cargoes of LNG under its own name while Shell and BP watch from the sidelines. A spokesperson for Venture Global, Shaylyn Hynes, didn’t mince words, calling out BP and Shell’s actions as a reflection of their “weak legal position” and “complete disrespect for the U.S. regulatory process.” Ouch, talk about adding insult to injury.

Shell, not one to back down, wants the FERC to either force Venture Global to spill all their secrets or at least let them redact the juicy bits themselves. It’s like asking to read someone’s diary but with the option to blackout all the scandalous parts.

So, as Shell and BP sulk over being left out of the LNG cool kids’ club, the world watches this corporate drama unfold, complete with legal filings, sharp-tongued spokespersons, and a whole lot of LNG that’s apparently going everywhere but into their hands. Stay tuned for the next episode of ‘As the Gas Turns.’

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