NextDecade appoints new CFO, signs LNG agreements

NextDecade LCC has appointed Benjamin Atkins as CFO, and has also signed heads of agreements (HOAs) totaling 14 million tons per annum (Mtpa) for the sale and purchase of liquefied natural gas (LNG).

As the new CFO, Atkins brings financial experience, particularly within the energy sector, where he has managed debt and equity investments in power and midstream project companies. Before joining NextDecade, he was a senior vice president with GE Capital for 10 years. Prior to his tenure at GE Capital, Atkins served New York and Boston financial services clients at McKinsey & Co and worked as a risk manager in State Street Corp.’s Securities Finance division. He graduated as valedictorian from the US Naval Academy and served in the US Navy Submarine Force. Atkins earned a Master of Arts degree from Oxford University. He is a CFA charterholder and a licensed certified public accountant in Connecticut.

NextDecade's HOA contracts include customers from across Asia and Europe. Moving forward, it will focus on converting these HOAs to fully termed sales and purchase/tolling agreements per standard industry practice. The company's recent commercial projects lay the groundwork to advance its major export projects, including Rio Grande LNG and the 140-mile Rio Bravo Pipeline system that will provide feed gas to the facility in Brownsville, Texas. At full capacity, Rio Grande LNG will be able to liquefy and export up to 27 Mtpa of LNG with initial production of 9 Mtpa expected to begin in 2020. A final investment decision (FID) on the project  is expected in early 2017.

“These agreements are paving the way forward for NextDecade’s US-based LNG export projects, Rio Grande LNG and Pelican Island LNG,” said NextDecade CEO Kathleen Eisbrenner. “Despite challenging overall market dynamics, our experience in the marketplace and the conversations that NextDecade has been having with potential LNG buyers tell a very different story. The global market for US-produced LNG is robust.”

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