Photo: Courtesy of Freeport LNG

Freeport LNG to restart operations in October

U.S. liquified natural gas exporter Freeport LNG has reached an agreement with U.S. regulators on certain conditions so that it can resume initial operations in early October.

Freeport LNG to resume initial operations in early October
Courtesy of Freeport LNG

On 3 August, Freeport LNG and the Pipeline Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) entered into a consent agreement related to the incident at Freeport LNG’s liquefaction facility in June.

The obligations under the agreement are to ensure that Freeport LNG can safely and confidently resume initial LNG production and thereafter ultimately return to full operation of all liquefaction facilities.

The facility, located in Quintana along the Texas Gulf Coast south of Houston, has been shut down ever since 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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In the near term, the consent agreement includes certain corrective measures, many of which are currently underway, that Freeport LNG is to take to obtain PHMSA approval for an initial resumption of LNG production from its liquefaction facility.

Freeport LNG reported it 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.

Those initial operations are to consist of three liquefaction trains, two LNG storage tanks, and one LNG loading dock. The company believes the dock will enable the delivery of approximately two billion cubic feet per day of LNG. This is enough to support its existing long-term customer agreements.

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 agreement, the company is evaluating and advancing initiatives related to training, process safety management, operations, and maintenance procedure improvements, and facility inspections.

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 U.S.

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

To remind, 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.