Driving Europe's LNG industry forward: A discussion with Martin Houston

With the Driftwood LNG project underway, Tellurian’s vision to secure low-cost natural gas as well as deliver reliable and flexible LNG globally is fast becoming a reality. Within the Tellurian team, they have over 50 years’ experience delivering cost-leading LNG projects and are responsible for over 20% of the LNG in production today.

With more than three decades in the industry, Gastech Insights spoke with Martin Houston, Co-founder and Vice Chairman of Tellurian to discover more about the proposed project and discuss how the European LNG industry can grow.

Gastech Insights: How is Tellurian revolutionising the energy market?

Martin Houston: Tellurian is looking at reducing the cost of manufactured LNG in the United States, specifically in Louisiana. Driftwood LNG, is an approximately 26 million tonne project on the Calcasieu River and our overall intention is to be one of the lowest cost producers of LNG in the US. We currently expect to be able to produce LNG at around $500 - $600 per installed tonne, and our goal is to be well below existing plants and tolls and certainly far more competitive than non-US projects which are on the drawing board.

Gastech Insights: Can you give us an update on the proposed Driftwood LNG project?

Martin Houston: Our Driftwood Project is currently on schedule to deliver first LNG in 2022.  We have completed the pre-FEED, filed our permits and should have our LSTK EPC very soon, so we will have a defined cost, which we think is very important.

Tellurian has spent a lot of time and investment with our technology providers – Bechtel, GE and Chart Industries – in finding what the lowest cost solution looks like. For example, we have optimised the way we put equipment together, scaling small components with large components to create better synergies, thinking about constructability as well as how to reduce the footprint of our plants. Ultimately, we have thought about 10,000 items across the project, each of which we can make some savings in, but not necessarily with one silver bullet.

We have gone about this project in a number of different ways; attitude, component selection, scale, size, and it is very different to anything you’ve seen in the past. The combination of large and small is something that’s never been done before so we are very optimistic that we will be among the lowest cost.

Gastech Insights: Having been involved in numerous LNG projects in existence today, what do you think is necessary to do to move the European LNG industry forward?

Martin Houston: We have around 30 million tonnes of re-gas capacity in Europe, much of which is underutilised. Gas from North America by LNG can be competitive with pipeline gas in Europe and it can command a market share within the broader European geography.

We continuously see advocacy for gas verses coal, gas as a partner for renewables and gas being the fossil fuel of the future. What we can do collectively is to be better advocates for our own business and to make it clear that as an industry we stand as one in order to increase demand. Gas is a fuel that needs to command more of the fuel mix within Europe if it is to displace coal on a global scale.  

Gastech Insights: What are the top three benefits of attending the EAGC this year?

Martin Houston: The EAGC is Europe’s longest standing gas conference having been around for 31 years. With a long standing Advisory Body that thinks carefully about how to construct the program, the conference provides a good list of people talking about the industry.

*Image courtesy of Tellurian