The Sunday Read: ‘How One Restaurateur Transformed America’s Energy Industry’
It was a long-shot bet on liquid natural gas, but it paid off handsomely — and turned the United States into a leading fossil-fuel exporter.
The journalist Jake Bittle delves into the storied career of Charif Souki, the Lebanese American entrepreneur whose aptitude for risk changed the course of the American energy business.
The article outlines how Mr. Souki rose from being a Los Angeles restaurant owner to becoming the co-founder and chief executive of Cheniere Energy, an oil and gas company that specialized in liquefied natural gas, and provides an insight into his thought process: “As Souki sees it,” Mr. Bittle writes, “the need to provide the world with energy in the short term outweighs the long-term demand of acting on carbon emissions.”
In a time of acute climate anxiety, Mr. Souki’s rationale could strike some as outdated, even brazen. The world may be facing energy and climate crises, Mr. Souki told The New York Times, “but one is going to happen this month, and the other one is going to happen in 40 years.”
“If you tell somebody, ‘You are going to run out of electricity this month,’ and then you talk to the same person about what’s going to happen in 40 years,” he said, “they will tell you, ‘What do I care about 40 years from now?’”
Additional production for The Sunday Read was contributed by Emma Kehlbeck, Parin Behrooz, Anna Diamond, Sarah Diamond, Jack D’Isidoro, Elena Hecht, Desiree Ibekwe, Tanya Pérez, Marion Lozano, Naomi Noury, Krish Seenivasan, Corey Schreppel, Margaret Willison, Kate Winslett and Tiana Young. Special thanks to Mike Benoist, Sam Dolnick, Laura Kim, Julia Simon, Lisa Tobin, Blake Wilson and Ryan Wegner.