Growing fears of a looming…
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Freeport LNG will resume most of its operations by October after the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration greenlit the restart.
Freeport LNG said that the approval of the PHMSA is contingent on the company taking some “corrective measures.”
“Freeport LNG continues to believe that it can complete the necessary corrective measures, along with the applicable repair and restoration activities, in order to resume initial operations in early October,” the company said.
Houston-based Freeport LNG suffered an explosion on June 8, which caused the plant to shut down to assess the damage and perform repairs. Freeport LNG accounts for 20 percent of the United States’ total LNG export capacity, capable of processing 2.1 billion cu ft of gas per day. According to Freeport LNG, it is the seventh-largest liquefaction facility in the world and the second-largest in the United States.
The June outage caused worry in Europe, which has since early 2022 become the largest buyer of U.S. liquefied natural gas, relying on LNG deliveries to fill up its gas storage for winter amid lower Russian supplies.
Given the size of Freeport LNG’s contribution to total LNG production in the United States, the outage was horrible news for European buyers, pushing gas prices even higher than they already were.
Now, Freeport LNG says it will restart in October three liquefaction trains, two LNG storage tanks, and one loading dock, which will make it possible to start exporting again at a rate of 2 billion cu ft daily. This, the company said, would serve to fulfill its obligations to clients with long-term contracts.
The U.S. became the world’s largest LNG exporter in the first half of the year, but after the explosion, the number of outgoing cargos fell sharply. In July, exports totaled 6.12 million tons of LNG, down from 6.3 million tons in June and the lowest level since last September.
By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com
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Irina is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing on the oil and gas industry.