Cheniere to begin LNG trading in 2004, contracts for tanker
     Houston-based Cheniere Energy will begin trading liquefied natural gas in the first quarter of 2004, the company said Wednesday, through the formation of a new Switzerland-based entity, J&S Cheniere. 
     The new company has contracted for a 130,000-cubic-meter tanker to be built, which will be used primarily to import LNG to the United States.
     Cheniere is a minority partner in the new trading company, partnered with J&S Services and Investment, a private petroleum and commodity trading corporation. Cheniere is also entering the LNG frontier on another front, with plans to construct import terminals at three locations in Texas and Louisiana.
     Cheniere Chairman and CEO Charif Souki said the company intends to "operate LNG receiving facilities in the U.S. beginning in 2007. It is important for us to be exposed as soon as possible to commercial operations in this industry, in preparation for our terminal activities. ... We agreed together to launch an LNG trading venture to gain exposure to this growing international sector."