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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