Freeport LNG Loads Cargoes, Seeks Full Restart
The Texas coast LNG terminal had been idled since a fire damaged a portion of the facility in June.
Liquefied natural gas (LNG) cargoes have started to flow once again from the Freeport LNG terminal on the Texas coast, the first since a June 2022 fire idled the plant. Earlier this week, the Kmarin Diamond, a BP-controlled ship, loaded cargo destined for Egypt. The SK Corp.’s Prism Agility is expected to take on cargo from the plant this week as well.
Plant operators have filed a federal request with regulators at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to bring the facility back up to full capacity. Freeport LNG has three trains and at peak capacity accounts for between 15% and 20% of total US LNG exports.
Freeport LNG said in late December that the reconstruction work necessary to begin initial operations is substantially complete, and the company is submitting responses to the last remaining questions included in the FERC's request for data on 12 December. They added that they expected the initial restart of the plant to occur in the second half of January. The ramp-up process will come in slow, deliberate steps as both the plant owner and regulators monitor the progress. Two of Freeport’s three trains are expected back at full operations soon.
Freeport said in a recent filing that further approvals would be needed to restart all its operations, which would include another LNG circulation loop, loading activities from its second dock, and a third storage tank.
Freeport was scheduled to receive more than 700 MMcf/D of feed gas on 14 February, up from nearly 430 MMcf/D on 13 February, which marked the highest volume of daily feed gas deliveries to the terminal since the outage.
Energy consultants Rystad Energy said it expected only incremental increases in deliveries this month and the plant to resume full operations in April, though it may take longer.
The Energy Intelligence Agency said in December that the US became the world’s largest LNG exporter during the first half of 2022, according to data from CEDIGAZ. Compared with the second half of 2021, US LNG exports increased by 12% in the first half of 2022, averaging 11.2 Bcf/D. US LNG exports continued to grow for three reasons—increased LNG export capacity, increased international natural gas and LNG prices, and increased global demand, particularly in Europe.