Financial results for the year ended Dec. 31, 2003 reflect a loss of $5,288,017, or $0.36 per share (basic and diluted), compared to a loss of $5,632,308 or $0.42 per share (basic and diluted) in 2002. The major factors contributing to the loss for 2003 were: LNG receiving terminal development expenses of $6,704,538 (which were offset by a $3,015,468 minority interest in the operations of Corpus LNG), Cheniere's equity share of the loss in the Freeport LNG partnership of $4,471,529 and other general and administrative expenses of $2,542,399. These factors are offset by a $4,760,000 gain on the sale of 60% of the Freeport LNG assets and a $423,454 gain on the sale of a 10% limited partnership interest in the Freeport LNG terminal.
Cheniere's working capital at Dec. 31, 2003 was $155,526. However, as previously announced, in January 2004, the Company issued 1,100,000 shares of its common stock in a private placement under Regulation D to twelve accredited investors for a total consideration of $14,850,000, or $13.50 per share. After deducting placement fees, the net proceeds totaled $13,884,750. Also in January 2004, Cheniere received a payment of $2,500,000 from Freeport LNG, which was payable pursuant to Cheniere's February 2003 sale of its 60% interest in the Freeport LNG project. Additional proceeds of $1,309,559 were received in January and February 2004 related to exercises of stock options and warrants. The pro forma effects as of Dec. 31, 2003 of these transactions would have increased working capital to $17,849,835.
During the fourth quarter of 2003 and during the first quarter of 2004 the company and its venture partners reported achievement of various milestones:
Cheniere LNG, Inc. (a wholly owned subsidiary) on Dec. 22, 2003, filed applications with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) for permits to build liquefied natural gas (LNG) receiving terminals near Sabine Pass, Louisiana and near Corpus Christi, Texas. Both of the terminals are planned to be the largest built in North America, with daily processing capacity of 2.6 billion cubic feet (Bcf) of natural gas, which the company is actively marketing to potential partners and customers from gas owners to marketers to large end-users -- industrials and power generators.
Cheniere Pipeline Company (a wholly owned subsidiary) on Dec. 22, 2003 also filed applications with FERC for permits to construct natural gas pipelines from the sites of the planned Sabine Pass and Corpus Christi LNG receiving terminals to interconnection points with interstate and intrastate natural gas pipelines in Southwest Louisiana and South Texas. In February 2004, Cheniere initiated binding open seasons for the marketing of its planned natural gas pipelines. The open seasons will conclude on April 16, 2004.
Freeport LNG Development, L.P. (in which Cheniere holds a 30% limited partner interest) further advanced its project to build an LNG receiving terminal near Freeport, Texas, with daily processing capacity of 1.5 Bcf of natural gas. On Nov. 10, 2003, FERC issued its Draft Environmental Impact Statement declaring the project to have no significant impact on its surroundings. On Dec. 21, 2003, Freeport LNG announced that it had reached an agreement for ConocoPhillips (NYSE:COP) to acquire 1 Bcf/per day of capacity in the terminal for its use in exchange for ConocoPhillips providing a substantial majority of the construction funding to build the facility, estimated to exceed $500 million. The parties also agreed for ConocoPhillips to be primarily responsible for managing the construction and operation of the facility and as a user of the facility, to pay its proportionate share of operating expenses and fuel costs, a throughput fee of $0.05 per Mcf, and all amounts necessary to amortize the construction funding. In addition, ConocoPhillips paid Freeport LNG a nonrefundable capacity reservation fee of $10 million in January 2004. The transaction is expected to close in the spring of 2004, subject to completion of remaining documentation and satisfaction of closing conditions.
On Feb. 26, 2004, Cheniere announced that Freeport LNG had reached a 20-year terminal use agreement (TUA) with The Dow Chemical Company (NYSE:DOW) for up to 500 million cubic feet per day (Mmcf/d) of throughput capacity at the Freeport LNG receiving terminal pursuant to an option it had acquired in June 2003. Under the terms of the TUA, Dow has made a firm commitment to reserve throughput capacity for 1.8 million tons of LNG per year (250 Mmcf/d) and has until Aug. 31, 2004 to exercise an option on the remaining 250 Mmcf/d.
Freeport LNG has announced that it expects to receive the Final Environmental Impact Statement from FERC towards the end of April 2004 and that it expects to break ground on construction of the facility this year with a target of being operational by mid 2007.
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