Freeport LNG says it is confident it can restart LNG exports from its Gulf Coast plant on time in October after reaching an agreement with regulators to resume operations following a fire earlier this summer.
The Consent Agreement entered into with the Pipeline Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) paves the way for the restarting of LNG production at the 15 million metric per year (mtpa) liquefaction and export facility located on Quintana Island in Texas.
The plant, the second largest in the U.S. and seventh in the world, has been offline since the fire on June 8th in pipe racks that support the transfer of LNG from the facility’s LNG storage tank area to the terminal’s dock facilities. The plant’s closure contributed to falling U.S. LNG exports for a second consecutive month in July even as European demand soars.
No injuries or pollution were reported and there was no threat to the public from the incident.
The Consent Agreement includes corrective measures in order to obtain approval for an initial resumption of LNG production.
Freeport LNG said many of the measures are already underway and it believes it can complete all neccesary measures, along with the applicable repair and restoration activities, in order to resume initial operations in early October at just about full production.
Initial operations are expected to consist of three liquefaction trains, two LNG storage tanks and one LNG loading dock, which Freeport LNG believes will enable delivery of approximately 2 billion cubic feet (BCF) per day of LNG, equivalent to 14.9 mpta, which is enough to support its existing long-term agreements with overseas customers.
Freeport LNG’s previous timeline estimated that it could restart partial operations in October and full operations by the end of the year. The latest estimate moves forward the timeline for full production.
“In addition to the repair and replacement of Freeport LNG’s physical infrastructure that was damaged in the incident, and as part of the corrective measures under the Consent Agreement, the company is evaluating and advancing initiatives related to training, process safety management, operations and maintenance procedure improvements, and facility inspections,” Freeport LNG said.
Freeport LNG Development was formed in 2002 to develop, own and operate an LNG terminal on Quintana Island, near Freeport, Texas. The terminal started LNG imports in June 2008, but in 2019 it became the fifth plant in the U.S. to start exporting LNG. Most of the LNG produced by the facility is shipped overseas to customers under long-term tolling agreements.
The liquefaction plant is also notable as its the largest all-electric drive motor plant of its kind in the world, which helps to reduce carbon emissions by over 90% relative to gas turbine-driven liquefaction facilities.
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