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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Updated 4 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 10 p.m. ET: 32,471,119 — Total deaths: 987,593 — Total recoveries: 22,374,557Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 10 p.m. ET: 7,032,524 — Total deaths: 203,657 — Total recoveries: 2,727,335 — Total tests: 99,483,712Map.
  3. States: "We’re not closing anything going forward": Florida fully lifts COVID restaurant restrictions — Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam tests positive for coronavirus.
  4. Health: Young people accounted for 20% of cases this summer.
  5. Business: Coronavirus has made airports happier places The expiration of Pandemic Unemployment Assistance looms.
  6. Education: Where bringing students back to school is most risky.
Mike Allen, author of AM
7 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Biden pushes unity message in new TV wave

A fresh Joe Biden ad, "New Start," signals an effort by his campaign to make unity a central theme, underscoring a new passage in his stump speech that says he won't be a president just for Democrats but for all Americans.

What he's saying: The ad — which began Friday night, and is a follow-up to "Fresh Start" — draws from a Biden speech earlier in the week in Manitowoc, Wisconsin:

Trump prepares to announce Amy Coney Barrett as Supreme Court replacement

Judge Amy Coney Barrett. Photo: Matt Cashore/Notre Dame University via Reuters

President Trump is preparing to nominate federal appeals court Judge Amy Coney Barrett of Indiana, a favorite of both the social conservative base and Republican elected officials, to succeed Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Republican sources tell Axios.

Why it matters: Barrett would push the already conservative court further and harder to the right, for decades to come, on the most important issues in American politics — from abortion to the limits of presidential power. If confirmed, she would give conservatives a 6-3 majority on the high court.