What: Origin Energy Ltd (ASX: ORG) shares are rallying this morning, outperforming the 1.5% rise in the S&P/ASX 200 (Index: ^AXJO) (ASX: XJO).

The catalyst for the 4.7% share price surge this morning is likely an announcement by the integrated energy provider that its first LNG shipment to The Kansai Electric Power Company departed Curtis Island yesterday.

So What: The announcement is a significant milestone for Origin’s Australia Pacific LNG (APLNG) operation and marks the beginning of a contracted supply agreement which will see the group supply approximately 1 million tonnes of LNG per year for 20 years to Kansai Electric.

Now What: Just a few months ago, investors were worried about the oil price and the outlook for Australia’s major LNG producers, namely Origin, Santos Ltd (ASX: STO), Oil Search Limited (ASX: OSH) and Woodside Petroleum Limited (ASX: WPL).

It is arguably too early to suggest that the above energy companies are “out of the woods” yet. In fact, the prospect of renewed downward pressure on the oil price and a glut in energy supplies remains a real concern. However, despite these headwinds, investor sentiment towards the sector does appear to be turning.

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Motley Fool contributor Tim McArthur owns shares in Origin Energy Ltd. The Motley Fool Australia has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Bruce Jackson.