NextDecade has signed a 15-year sales and purchase agreement with its first Japanese customer for the Rio Grande LNG project in Texas, which is expected to take the final investment decision this quarter.

The US LNG exporter will sell 1 million tonnes per annum of liquefied natural gas to Itochu on a free-on-board basis.

“We are honoured to have Itochu Corporation as our first Japanese customer,” NextDecade’s chief executive Matt Schatzman said.

“We look forward to providing Itochu and their customers with LNG, and we are actively working to reduce the carbon footprint of the Rio Grande LNG facility through our proposed carbon capture and storage project.”

The CCS project, at full scale, expects to capture more than 90% of the facility’s emissions at more than 5 million tpa.

The latest SPA will contribute to plans to reach final investment decision for the first three trains of the project in this first quarter of 2023, after project sanction was initially delayed to the second half of last year.

At about 5.4 million tpa capacity per train, the five-train facility will have an expected capacity of about 27 million tpa when all the trains are sanctioned.

The facility has also signed LNG sales agreements with ENN LNG and Galp Trading, bringing the total volumes signed off in the past month to 4 million tpa.

NextDecade has previously signed agreements with China Gas, Guangdong Energy Group and ExxonMobil.

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