May 22, 2019

Saudi Aramco dives into U.S. LNG

Saudi Arabia's state oil giant announced plans Wednesday to purchase gas from Sempra Energy's planned Port Arthur LNG project in Texas and hopes to buy a 25% equity stake in the development's first phase.

Why it matters: It's a big step in Saudi Aramco's push to diversify its business lines beyond crude oil, and a sign of intense interest in the growing U.S. LNG sector.

  • Exports are rising and a number of companies are planning new projects amid record U.S. gas production and growing global thirst for the fuel.

Where it stands: The companies are negotiating a 20-year deal for Aramco to buy 5 million metric tons annually from the project, according to the release.

What they're saying: Aramco CEO Amin Nasser noted in the statement that global LNG demand is slated to rise by 4% annually and said Aramco will "continue to pursue strategic partnerships" in the sector.

  • He called the Sempra deal a "major step" in Aramco's efforts to become a global LNG player.

Go deeper: Saudi Arabia lines up deal to buy U.S. natural gas

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Coronavirus kills 2 Diamond Princess passengers and South Korea sees first death

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's Health Ministry. U.S. numbers include Americans extracted from Princess Cruise ship.

Two elderly Diamond Princess passengers have been killed by the novel coronavirus — the first deaths confirmed among the more than 600 infected aboard the cruise ship. South Korea also announced its first death Thursday.

The big picture: COVID-19 has now killed more than 2,200 people and infected over 75,465 others, mostly in mainland China, where the National Health Commission announced 118 new deaths since Thursday.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 6 hours ago - Health

SoftBank to cut its stake to get T-Mobile's Sprint deal done

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

T-Mobile and Sprint announced a revised merger agreement that will see SoftBank getting a smaller share of the combined company, while most shareholders will receive the previously agreed upon exchange rate. The companies said they hope to get the deal as early as April 1.

Why it matters: The amended deal reflects the decline in Sprint's business, while leaving most shareholders' stake intact and removing another hurdle to the deal's closure.