Freeport LNG Development will achieve a partial restart of its operations in February, but incremental LNG export cargos during the month will be minimal, according to Rystad Energy vice president Emily McClain.
“We expect the plant will bring all three trains online in March, with a full ramp up by early April,” McClain announced Feb. 14 in the consultancy’s weekly North America gas and LNG market update.
The three-train Quintana Island liquefaction plant is the second largest in the U.S. and seventh largest in the world, according to Houston-based Freeport, with capacity of 15 million tonnes per annum (mtpa), equivalent to approximately 2.2 Bcf/d of gas. A fire on June 8 halted all operations at the plant.
U.S. LNG exports have taken on heightened importance on the other side of the Atlantic. Since Russia’s initial military operations in Ukraine in February 2022, sanctions on Russia coupled with decisions from Moscow to reduce certain energy flows have engulfed most of Europe and the U.K. in an energy crisis.
Daily LNG output from Freeport LNG’s three liquefaction trains is enough to power and light a metropolitan area the size of San Antonio for an entire day, according to details posted to Freeport LNG’s website.
Freeport LNG is capable of providing over 20% of total U.S. LNG exports. Last week, the plant received its first tanker since the June fire shuttered operations. The plant’s feedgas volumes rose to almost 400 MMcf/d this week – the highest levels reported since the outage, McClain said.
While Freeport LNG’s restart is on track with LNG exports to follow, the plant still has a few requirements and approvals that need to be met before it can return to full capacity, she said.
Approvals for activities at Dock 1 and Dock 2
This month, Freeport LNG has received approvals for activities to be conducted at its Dock 1 and Dock 2 facilities, the company announced Feb. 13 in a press release.
On Feb. 9, Freeport LNG received approval from Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and the Pipeline Hazardous Materials Safety Administration to resume ship loading activities at its LNG Dock 1 facilities.
On Feb. 13, Freeport LNG received approval from the U.S. Coast Guard to utilize the company’s LNG Dock 2 facilities as a lay berth for LNG ships awaiting loading windows at LNG Dock 1.
“This activity will strictly be utilized for logistical purposes to support approved LNG Dock 1 loading activities,” Freeport said in the release. “No cargo transfer will occur from the Dock 2 facilities until such time as Freeport LNG is granted further approvals for the full resumption of service of LNG Dock 2.”
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