Freeport LNG's natural gas intake at its plant in Texas was well below capacity for a fifth straight day, according to LSEG data, suggesting a persistent outage at the plant, analysts said.
The second-largest LNG producer in the U.S. was today at 334 MMcf/d compared to a typical draw of about 2 Bcf/d of natural gas, LSEG data showed.
Market analyst Rapidan Energy Group has downgraded its third quarter gas utilization forecast for Freeport LNG to 80% from 95% as a result of the five-day outage.
The outage likely reflects pressure on the Texas grid, which has been constrained by peak demand caused by excessive heat for most of the summer, said Rapidan Energy's Director of Global Gas & LNG Research Alex Munton.
The plant could begin ramping up operations in the next few days, but any longer outage would suggest mechanical problems that could have a greater impact on the market, Rapidan said.
"The 80% number is basically what we expect Freeport LNG to produce. It is quite a bit different to what we expected when we made our July utilization forecast," Munton said.
Gas flows to the seven big U.S. LNG export plants have averaged 12.6 Bcf/d so far in September, up from 12.3 Bcf/d in August. The monthly record was 14 bcfd in April.
Freeport LNG's draws have fallen to an average of 0.4 Bcf/d over the past five day from around 1.8 Bcf/d last week, according to LSEG data.
A company spokesperson declined to comment.
Analysts have said at least two of the facility's three gas-processing trains may be idled.
Four tankers-the BW Pavilion Aranda, LNG Schneeweisschen, Marvel Crane and Hellas Diana-were waiting on Wednesday to load near Freeport LNG.
Freeport LNG has had at least six emission events over the last two months tied to malfunctions, according to state environmental agency Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ).
Four events affected Train 3 processing unit, with the most recent on Sept. 5. The other two occasions in which gas usage fell were caused by events at Train 1 unit, according to the TCEQ report.
Each time there was a return to normal operations within 48 hours.
An outage at the facility would add to market concerns over global LNG supply as workers at Chevron's Gorgon and Wheatstone LNG projects in Australia began work stoppages Sept. 8. Chevron has asked an industrial relations tribunal to resolve the labor dispute.
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