Cheniere Energy, Inc. reported a net loss of $52.6 million, or $1.14 per share (basic and diluted), for the fourth quarter of 2007 compared with a net loss of $93.3 million, or $1.71 per share (basic and diluted), during the corresponding period in 2006. For the year ended December 31, 2007, Cheniere reported a loss of $181.8 million, or $3.60 per share (basic and diluted) compared to a net loss of $145.9 million, or $2.68 per share (basic and diluted), for the comparable period 2006.
Results for the quarter and year ended December 31, 2007 were primarily impacted by costs associated with the continued development of our LNG terminal platform and related pipeline infrastructure, including construction of the Sabine Pass LNG receiving terminal and Creole Trail pipeline, the expansion of our organization in preparation for operations and financing activities, including the formation of Cheniere Energy Partners, L.P.
"We are very pleased with the progress we have made on the development of our platform," said Charif Souki, Chairman and CEO. "After approximately three years of construction, the Sabine Pass LNG receiving terminal is scheduled to come on line in the second quarter of 2008 with an initial send out capacity of 2.6 Bcf/d and storage capacity of 10.1 Bcf. The Creole Trail pipeline, designed to provide 2.0 Bcf/d takeaway capacity from the terminal, is also scheduled to come on line concurrently with the initial start up of the Sabine Pass LNG receiving terminal. Construction will continue in order to expand the terminal to a total send out capacity of 4.0 Bcf/d and total storage capacity of 16.8 Bcf by second quarter 2009. Construction is on track and on budget."
Results were primarily impacted by LNG receiving terminal and pipeline development costs and G&A expenses. Loss from operations was $163.9 million in 2007 compared to $75.9 million in 2006. LNG receiving terminal and pipeline development expenses increased from $12.1 million in 2006 to $34.7 million in 2007. Expenses primarily include salaries for employees developing the Sabine Pass LNG receiving terminal and Creole Trail pipeline.
General and administrative costs increased from $58.0 million in 2006 to $122.0 million in 2007. The increase in expenses is primarily due to expansion of our corporate and marketing operations and includes non-cash compensation expense related to the expensing of stock options and restricted stock beginning in 2006. The number of employees has increased from 237 in 2006 to 376 in 2007. Interest expense increased from $54.0 million in 2006 to $104.6 million in 2007 due to an increase in average debt outstanding year over year. Interest income increased from $49.1 million in 2006 to $82.6 million in 2007 due to an increase in the average outstanding cash balance year over year.
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