Sempra Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Jeffrey Martin recently appeared on CNBC’s "Mad Money" to speak with host Jim Cramer on the success of the company’s secular growth story in a challenging market. At the time of this publication, Sempra leads all companies in the S&P 500 Utility Index in total shareholder return in 2022.
Sempra’s success is tied to three integrated growth engines: Sempra California, Sempra Texas and Sempra Infrastructure. Across the Sempra family of companies, there is a commitment to being some of the leaders in our industry in advancing cleaner forms of energy, including renewable natural gas. While 70% of Sempra’s rate base is dedicated to electrification, the company’s liquefied natural gas export business also serves an important purpose in today’s dynamic energy market.
“For the last three to five years, we discussed the need for a second wave of American LNG and in part, that’s because LNG supports the energy transition by helping countries get access to natural gas to improve their energy security and climate security, as they move away from coal for power production,” said Martin. “Sempra is in a unique position because we have opportunities to dispatch LNG off the West Coast of North America to Asia and off the Gulf Coast to Europe.”
With war in Eastern Europe and significant disruptions in Europe’s energy markets, Martin was asked to assess how the U.S. can be more helpful. In response, Martin noted, “There’s about 18 billion cubic feet of gas per day that flows into Europe from Russia. That is about 45% of the European continent’s overall supply of natural gas. The best country in the world to help solve that problem and replace Russian gas is the United States. This is not just about Sempra. The entire U.S. LNG community is in a great position to be a part of the solution.”
Cramer noted that Sempra’s board of directors and leadership team stand out because of their forward-looking approach to diversity and inclusion and commitment to better reflecting the hopes and aspirations of all Americans.
“This is a topic of great importance to me and our board of directors,” said Martin. “We have made a commitment to fostering a high performing culture that embraces safety, leadership, employee development and diversity and inclusion. Our board reflects our commitment to the belief that diverse backgrounds allow you to make better business decisions. At the end of the day, our job as a leadership team is to make one good management decision after another, and we believe that diversity definitely plays into that.”
The interview followed Sempra’s Q1 2022 earnings announcement, which included updates on the company’s transmission and distribution investments and the increasing significance of U.S. LNG in helping allies achieve energy security.
This article contains statements that constitute forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Forward-looking statements are based on assumptions with respect to the future, involve risks and uncertainties, and are not guarantees. Future results may differ materially from those expressed in any forward-looking statements. These forward-looking statements represent our estimates and assumptions only as of the date of this article. We assume no obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statement as a result of new information, future events or other factors.
In this article forward-looking statements can be identified by words such as “believes,” “expects,” “intends,” “anticipates,” “plans,” “estimates,” “projects,” “forecasts,” “should,” “could,” “would,” “will,” “confident,” “may,” “can,” “potential,” “possible,” “proposed,” “in process,” “under construction,” “in development,” “opportunity,” “target,” “outlook,” “maintain,” “continue,” “goal,” “aim,” “commit,” or similar expressions, or when we discuss our guidance, priorities, strategy, goals, vision, mission, opportunities, projections, intentions or expectations.
Factors, among others, that could cause actual results and events to differ materially from those described in any forward-looking statements include risks and uncertainties relating to: California wildfires, including the risks that we may be found liable for damages regardless of fault and that we may not be able to recover all or a substantial portion of costs from insurance, the wildfire fund established by California Assembly Bill 1054, in rates from customers or a combination thereof; decisions, investigations, regulations, issuances or revocations of permits and other authorizations, renewals of franchises, and other actions by (i) the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), Comisión Reguladora de Energía, U.S. Department of Energy, U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, Public Utility Commission of Texas, and other regulatory and governmental bodies and (ii) states, counties, cities and other jurisdictions in the U.S., Mexico and other countries in which we do business; the success of business development efforts, construction projects and acquisitions and divestitures, including risks in (i) the ability to make a final investment decision, (ii) completing construction projects or other transactions on schedule and budget, (iii) the ability to realize anticipated benefits from any of these efforts if completed, and (iv) obtaining the consent or approval of partners or other third parties, including governmental entities and regulatory bodies; the resolution of civil and criminal litigation, regulatory inquiries, investigations and proceedings, arbitrations, and property disputes, including those related to the natural gas leak at Southern California Gas Company’s (SoCalGas) Aliso Canyon natural gas storage facility; changes to laws, including changes to certain of Mexico’s laws and rules that impact energy supplier permitting, energy contract rates, the electricity industry generally and the ability to import, export, transport and store hydrocarbons; cybersecurity threats, including by state and state-sponsored actors, to the energy grid, storage and pipeline infrastructure, information and systems used to operate our businesses, and confidentiality of our proprietary information and personal information of our customers and employees, including ransomware attacks on our systems and the systems of third-party vendors and other parties with which we conduct business, all of which have become more pronounced due to recent geopolitical events and other uncertainties, such as the war in Ukraine; failure of foreign governments and state-owned entities to honor their contracts and commitments; actions by credit rating agencies to downgrade our credit ratings or to place those ratings on negative outlook and our ability to borrow on favorable terms and meet our debt service obligations; the impact of energy and
climate policies, legislation, rulemaking and disclosures, as well as related goals set and actions taken by companies in our industry, including actions to reduce or eliminate reliance on natural gas generally and any deterioration of or increased uncertainty in the political or regulatory environment for California natural gas distribution companies and the risk of nonrecovery for stranded assets; the pace of the development and adoption of new technologies in the energy sector, including those designed to support governmental and private party energy and climate goals, and our ability to timely and economically incorporate them into our business; weather, natural disasters, pandemics, accidents, equipment failures, explosions, acts of terrorism, information system outages or other events that disrupt our operations, damage our facilities and systems, cause the release of harmful materials, cause fires or subject us to liability for property damage or personal injuries, fines and penalties, some of which may not be covered by insurance, may be disputed by insurers or may otherwise not be recoverable through regulatory mechanisms or may impact our ability to obtain satisfactory levels of affordable insurance; the availability of electric power and natural gas and natural gas storage capacity, including disruptions caused by failures in the transmission grid or limitations on the withdrawal of natural gas from storage facilities; the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, including potential vaccination mandates, on capital projects, regulatory approvals and the execution of our operations; the impact at San Diego Gas & Electric Company (SDG&E) on competitive customer rates and reliability due to the growth in distributed and local power generation, including from departing retail load resulting from customers transferring to Community Choice Aggregation and Direct Access, and the risk of nonrecovery for stranded assets and contractual obligations; Oncor Electric Delivery Company LLC’s (Oncor) ability to eliminate or reduce its quarterly dividends due to regulatory and governance requirements and commitments, including by actions of Oncor’s independent directors or a minority member director; volatility in foreign currency exchange, inflation and interest rates and commodity prices, including inflationary pressures in the U.S., and our ability to effectively hedge these risks and with respect to inflation and interest rates, the impact on SDG&E’s and SoCalGas’ cost of capital and the affordability of customer rates; changes in tax and trade policies, laws and regulations, including tariffs, revisions to international trade agreements and sanctions, such as those that have been imposed and that may be imposed in the future in connection with the war in Ukraine, which may increase our costs, reduce our competitiveness, impact our ability to do business with certain current or potential counterparties, or impair our ability to resolve trade disputes; and other uncertainties, some of which may be difficult to predict and are beyond our control.
These risks and uncertainties are further discussed in the reports that Sempra has filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). These reports are available through the EDGAR system free-of-charge on the SEC's website, www.sec.gov, and on Sempra’s website, www.sempra.com. Investors should not rely unduly on any forward-looking statements.
Sempra Infrastructure, Sempra Texas, Sempra Texas Utilities, Oncor and Infraestructura Energética Nova, S.A.P.I. de C.V. (IEnova) are not the same companies as the California utilities, SDG&E or SoCalGas, and Sempra Infrastructure, Sempra Texas, Sempra Texas Utilities, Oncor and IEnova are not regulated by the CPUC.