Dec 01 2022
Freeport LNG delayed its restart target until the end of the year, about two weeks beyond its previous estimate, as it works with US regulators to secure all approvals necessary to resume production, the operator said Dec. 1.
The three-train, 15 million mt/year capacity terminal in Texas, which serves about 15% of US liquefaction output, has been offline since a June explosion and fire. The operator estimated Nov. 18 that it would resume production in mid-December, which represented a delay of about a month from its previous target.
The latest timeline reflects some progress on the regulatory front, although work continues to secure all necessary clearances.
Freeport LNG has approval from agencies to complete critical repairs and commence reinstatement of certain systems, spokeswoman Heather Browne told S&P Global Commodity Insights in response to questions.
Based upon current progress and subject to the operator continuing to meet necessary requirements, Freeport LNG now anticipates that "restart of liquefaction to be achieved around year-end," Browne said.
Freeport LNG has long-term offtake deals with South Korea's SK E&S, Japanese utilities JERA, and Osaka Gas, as well as French energy major TotalEnergies. Some counterparties have had to rely more heavily on the spot market for LNG supplies during the outage.
Freeport LNG has said its three liquefaction trains will be restarted and ramped up in a slow and deliberate manner, with each train starting separately before restarting a subsequent train. It previously said it expected that about 2 Bcf/d of production would be achieved in January. The terminal's capacity is around 2.3 Bcf/d. Full production utilizing both docks remains anticipated to be achieved in March, Freeport LNG said.
Investigators with the US Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration have been present at the site throughout the course of the probe and planned to be there to consider restart approval, said a person familiar with the situation.