Freeport LNG provides updates on root causes of June incident

Texas-based LNG export company Freeport LNG has provided the results of an independent, third-party root cause failure analysis (RCFA) report on the incident that occurred at its liquefaction facility on 8 June 2022.

Courtesy of Freeport LNG

To remind, the facility, located in Quintana along the Texas Gulf Coast south of Houston, has been shut down following the explosion incident that occurred on 8 June.

Due to the incident, the operator first said it will go offline for at least three weeks. However, upon further investigation, Freeport LNG said that completion of all necessary repairs and a return to full plant operations is not expected until late 2022. 

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The RCFA report was commissioned by Freeport LNG and independently conducted by the incident investigation company IFO Group in order to identify the causes underlying the incident.

Over the course of almost five months, IFO Group investigated the incident, collected and analysed physical specimens from the incident, interviewed witnesses, reviewed process and design data, and ultimately developed the RCFA report, identifying specific causes that led or contributed to the incident.

The analysis showed that the direct cause was the isolation of a piping segment containing cryogenic LNG without proper overpressure protection, which LNG then warmed and expanded due to exposure to ambient conditions, resulting in a boiling liquid, expanding vapour explosion, or BLEVE, and the rupturing of the piping segment.

The report also listed root and contributing causes together with proposed recommendations to resolve them. Freeport LNG said it is implementing each of those recommendations.

To supplement IFO’s report, Freeport LNG also engaged another independent consultant to perform a full review of its LNG storage and transfer operating procedures, its control systems maintenance and inspection procedures, and its personnel qualifications and training programs.

Freeport LNG operates one of the largest LNG liquefaction and export facilities in the world; specifically, it is the seventh-largest in the world and the second-largest in the US.

Freeport LNG engaged Kiewit Energy Group to perform the engineering, procurement, and reconstruction activities necessary to implement Freeport LNG’s recovery effort.

The terminal accounts for about 15% of the US LNG supply. This has become especially important due to the European energy crises and cutting dependence on Russian gas.

Freeport LNG was in the process of adding a fourth train to the facility, which would expand its capacity to over 20 million tonnes per annum.

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