Sempra Energy (
), one of the largest natural gas transportation companies in the
country, won approval last week for a liquefied natural gas (
) export facility along the Louisiana coast.
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission voted unanimously for
the Cameron LNG project, which is estimated to cost $9 billion to
$10 billion. Some members of Congress were pushing hard for a
quick approval so that natural gas could be shipped to Europe to
help end Russia's energy dominance in the region.
On Thursday when the facility won approval, Sempra's stock
jumped more than 1% on above-average volume.
Spectra plans to begin construction later this year and to
begin liquefying natural gas in late 2017, becoming fully
operational in 2018.
Exports to countries that don't have a free-trade agreement
with the U.S. require federal approval.
San Diego-based Sempra will own 50.2% of the facility with
French and Japanese interests owning the rest.
The company's two California utilities, San Diego Gas &
Electric and Southern California Gas Co. serve more than 20
million customers. Its other businesses, Sempra U.S. Gas &
Power and Sempra International, develop and operate energy
infrastructure and provide gas and electricity in North and South
Sempra has been growing. After a quarter of decline, earnings
the past two quarters rose 5% and 43% year over year. Analysts
are forecasting a 12% increase in the current quarter.
A 10% EPS increase is forecast this year and an 8% increase in
Sempra pays a 66-cents-per-quarter dividend, which works out
to a 2.5% annual yield.
That compares to a 30-cent dividend in 2006.
The stock has a three- to five-year dividend growth rate of