Cheniere reported a record 141 liquefied natural gas cargoes for the third quarter, up from 55 cargoes the same time last year.

However, the US LNG exporter reported a net loss of just over $1 billion for the third quarter as it prepares for nine operating gas liquefaction trains in 2022.

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The company said the loss, increased from a $463 million loss in the third quarter last year, is non-cash and is tied to volatility in the LNG market.

Cheniere expects the demand for LNG to increase in the coming years, as countries in Asia begin to phase out coal and nuclear power. The company said China’s demand for natural gas-fired power increased 23% on the year.

But China is still adding coal plants. Unprecedented price hikes in gas are leaving some to opt for cheaper, higher polluting fuels.

“I worry at these high prices there’s a lot of substitution going on, and that tends to be a lot more coal and oil being used for power generation,” Cheniere chief executive Zach Davis said.

“So we need to get back in balance, longer term, and then I think folks will actually appreciate that natural gas is here to stay and is part of the solution for a cleaner energy mix around the world.”

The company is optimistic about its future after signing 13-year deals with both a subsidiary of the Switzerland-based Glencore and Chinese gas distributor ENN.

Train expansions

Cheniere has been working to add a sixth liquefaction train at the Sabine Pass LNG facility, with plans for it to reach substantial completion by the end of the first quarter 2022.

After that train is operational, the company will have nine trains in operation for the first time. Cheniere added a third train to its Corpus Christi facility in March.

The addition at Corpus Christi comes ahead of its Stage 3 expansion to reach up to seven trains at the facility. A final investment decision for the project is expected in 2022.

The project, however, needs another 3 million tonnes in contracts to fully sanction it, Cheniere said, and the company plans to focusing all its efforts on the expansion.

“Right now, we are 100% focused on Stage 3. So, I don't want to divert our attention onto any further growth until I get Stage 3 up and built or at least commercialised,” Davis said.