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U.S. Gas Prices Jump As Freeport LNG Targets Full Restart In March 2023

U.S. natural gas prices surged on the news that one of the largest U.S. LNG export terminals is targeting a complete operational restart by March 2023.  

Freeport LNG, a major liquefied natural gas exporter in Texas, wrote in a press release that "it is targeting initial production at the facility in mid-December," with "full production utilizing both docks remains anticipated to commence in March 2023." 

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Remember, Freeport has been shuttered since June due to an explosion, with an initial reopening timeframe around fall. The delay has a silver lining: more NatGas will be injected back into the US grid as the heating season begins, though the bad news is that Europe will receive fewer shipments of US LNG shipments. 

"Each of Freeport LNG's three liquefaction trains will be restarted and ramped up safely, in a slow and deliberate manner, with each train starting separately before restarting a subsequent train. It is expected that approximately 2 BCF per day of production will be achieved in January 2023. Full production utilizing both docks remains anticipated to commence in March 2023," Freeport said. 

US NatGas price jumped as much as 6% on the news but is still lower in the session. 

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Houston-based energy firm Criterion Research responded to the news of Freeport's updated reopening timeline: 

At long last, Freeport has given clarification of its timeline for a restart of LNG operations at the long-offline terminal. The company reported that the reconstruction work needed to start initial ops at all three LNG trans, two storage tanks, and one berth was 90% completed, with all work on target for completion by the end of November 2022. 

With that in mind, they are now targeting the initial startup in Mid-December 2022. They will then work gradually to a 2 Bcf/d operational rate in January 2023. Full operations at both docks will be reached in March 2023. Freeport will phase on each of its three trains in a "in a slow and deliberate manner, with each train starting separately before restarting a subsequent train." 

Earlier this week, Criterion Research released an analysis of the Freeports November 14 update and surmised according to the timeline we laid out, they would be on pace for a restart within 30-days of November 14, 2022. We got a bit lucky on that one, but we will keep an eye on updates between now and then to see if this timeline shifts at all.

By Zerohedge.com

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