Cheniere seeks more time for Corpus Christi LNG expansion

US LNG exporting giant Cheniere asked US energy regulators for an extension to construct the proposed Stage 3 expansion at its Corpus Christi export plant in Texas.

The Corpus Christi liquefaction plant now consists of three operational trains with each having a capacity of about 5 mtpa.

Under the expansion project, Cheniere plans to build up to seven mid-scale liquefaction trains with a total expected nominal production capacity of about 10 mtpa.

The US FERC approved this expansion project back in November 2019. Under this approval, Cheniere and its units have to complete the project in five years or until around November 2024.

Cheniere’s units asked FERC in a filing dated December 7 to extend this date until June 2027.

“The onset and duration of the Covid-19 pandemic resulted in adverse economic and logistical conditions that slowed commercial progress and precluded CCL Stage III from making a timely final investment decision (FID) on the Stage 3 project in order to meet the current permitted construction duration,” Cheniere said in the filing.

This delay in full commercialization has resulted in the need for additional time to construct and place the Stage 3 project in service, Cheniere said.

Close to FID

While the Covid-19 pandemic caused significant impact to global markets last year, global LNG demand and long-term contracting activity have experienced significant growth in 2021, according to Cheniere.

“During the last 12 months alone, Cheniere Energy and its affiliates have signed about 6 mtpa of long-term contracts, which, alongside long-term contracts previously signed, means that commercialization for the Stage 3 project is close to completion,” it said.

The strong global LNG market continues to drive commercial momentum, and CCL Stage III
anticipates “imminently restarting” early construction activities at the Stage 3 project site and making a positive FID during 2022, Cheniere said.

Full construction of the expansion facilities would commence upon making a positive FID.

Based on a June 2022 FID and a 60-month construction duration, the Stage 3 project would be made available for service by June 2027, Cheniere said.

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