Dec 1 (Reuters) - U.S. liquefied natural gas developer
Tellurian Inc said Monday its President and Chief
Executive Meg Gentle will leave the company and be replaced by
Octavio Simoes, its executive vice president of LNG marketing
and business development.
In what has been a tough year for the LNG industry due to
coronavirus demand destruction, Tellurian did not say why
Gentle, who had been with Tellurian since August 2016, was
leaving. Gentle was not immediately available for comment.
Tellurian shares were up about 8%, putting the stock on
track for its highest close since June.
Gentle owned about 11.83 million shares, or roughly 3.6%, of
Tellurian's stock in August, making her the fifth biggest
shareholder behind Total SE (13.6%), Charif Souki
(8.7%), the Souki Family 2016 Trust (7.9%) and Martin Houston
(6.1%), according to data from Refinitiv. Souki and Houston
Tellurian is one of several LNG developers that have delayed
making a final investment decision (FID) to build export plants
because it is tough to find customers in a world with low
natural gas prices.
Analysts at Cowen & Co noted Tellurian's CEO change, which
also included adding Jean Abiteboul to the board, gives the
company additional personnel that have relationships with
potential counterparties at a time when limited in-person
interactions is hindering deal making and customers are still
required for project sanction.
Simoes was previously with Sempra Energy. Abiteboul
is president of GIIGNL, the Paris-based International Group of
LNG Importers, and previously worked at Cheniere Energy Inc
and Engie SA.
At the start of 2020, a dozen or so North American
developers, including Tellurian, said they planned to make FIDs
by the end of the year. But only Sempra's Costa Azul in Mexico
moved forward this year.
Tellurian was targeting a mid-2021 FID to build the $16.8
billion first phase of its Driftwood project in Louisiana,
allowing it to produce first LNG in 2024.
North American developers have said they plan to make FIDs
on 16 projects in 2021. Analysts, however, expect only a handful
could actually go forward next year.
Cowen said it was unlikely Tellurian would make a FID in
(Reporting by Jessica Jaganathan in Singapore and Scott
DiSavino in New York; Editing by Kenneth Maxwell and Marguerita