The future of a proposed liquefied natural gas export terminal near Lake Charles is unclear after a deal for its parent company to be acquired was canceled.
LNG Ltd. is an Australian company, which proposed building Magnolia LNG. It was slated to be taken private by Singapore-based LNG9 PTE Ltd. in a $75 million deal, but investors withdrew their bid after an initial bridge loan fell through.
LNG9 didn't secure the financing it expected to get for the deal, but is "still interested" in pursuing the acquisition.
"By retracting their bid, LNG Ltd. is now able to negotiate with other interested parties on strategic alternatives, which is already ongoing," LNG Ltd. said.
The Australian business has enough cash until May and is still pursuing the Magnolia LNG project. It received a payroll protection program loan from the U.S. Small Business Association totaling $388,552, according to the company. The $349 billion loan program is part of the $2 trillion federal relief package Congress approved to stave off the economic toll businesses face in the coronavirus pandemic.
If the LNG company can't find alternative funding in May, it could be forced to file for bankruptcy, which could put the Magnolia LNG project near Lake Charles in jeopardy.
"LNGL's existing cash reserves are sufficient to meet all of the company's commitments until May 2020 and LNGL must secure additional meaningful funding urgently to continue operating beyond then," according to the company.
Magnolia LNG was expected to export 8.8 million tons of LNG each year, but has not started construction. The project already has permits from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.
LNG Ltd. had only $8.3 million left in cash as of December 2019.
First Wall Street Capital Corp. was expected to lend the parent company of Magnolia LNG about $6 million secured by a partnership interest in the Louisiana project, but has pulled out with the financial downturn caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
Magnolia LNG isn't the only project facing issues in Louisiana. Shell dropped out of Lake Charles LNG, citing market conditions, and the project was downsized. Some economists predict that the natural gas market may diminish while crude oil prices remain low because in some overseas markets the price of LNG is tied to oil.