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Souki in the driver’s seat

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LNG Industry,

According to the latest report by Bloomberg, Charif Souki has been chasing his fortune in the energy business for two decades.

Carl Icahn fired Souki from Cheniere Energy Inc. in December 2015 after a dispute over the company’s export strategy. Souki, who was Cheniere’s CEO, resurfaced two months later with a company called Tellurian and a plan to produce 5% of the world’s LNG by 2025./p>

When Icahn began amassing a 13.9% stake in Cheniere in 2015, Souki had already shifted the company’s focus twice. A former investment banker, he started the business in 1996 to produce oil and gas. In 2001, he turned to building an import terminal to keep up with demand for natural gas. That strategy ran right into the US fracking boom that flooded the market with supply and drove prices to new lows. By the time Icahn arrived, Souki was chasing exports./p>

Amid a weakening oil market and fears of LNG oversupply, Souki advocated doubling Cheniere’s export capacity, leading Icahn to pressure the board to push him out./p>

Funded mainly by Total SA and General Electric, Tellurian announced plans for a Louisiana facility that when completed in 2025 will be able to export 26 million metric t of LNG annually. Driving demand is Asia, the world’s largest LNG market, which Souki anticipates growing at an annual rate of 3.9%. Souki’s goal is to meet that demand with gas that is liquefied more cheaply than at Cheniere.

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