NextDecade files to allow TotalEnergies to exit LNG stake

NextDecade has filed for a shelf registration that would allow TotalEnergies to sell its 17.5% stake in the U.S. LNG company over time.

A unit of French oil major TotalEnergies currently holds 44.9 million shares of NextDecade, bought for $219 million in June as part of a broader deal to develop NextDecade's Rio Grande LNG export project in south Texas that has faced repeated delays.

NextDecade, which signed a contract to supply 5.4 million tons of LNG per year to TotalEnergies, said in a filing dated Dec. 22 it would not receive any proceeds from any such future offerings.

The prospectus with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission registers the shares owned by TotalEnergies and enables them to sell them in the future, said NextDecade spokesperson Susan Richardson.

"There is no current offering of shares. While we cannot control the actions of our shareholders...we view them as a long-term strategic partner," Richardson said.

TotalEnergies' decision is likely a reflection that, having helped get the LNG facility to a final investment decision, an equity position was no longer required, said Rapidan Energy Group Research Director Alex Munton.

"The equity investment in Next Decade may have been needed to help Rio Grande being financed, and that now the project the under construction TotalEnergies may have decided that there is little value in holding onto its position, as the overriding interest is in the offtake volumes, which it was able to secure at low cost", Munton said.

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