Freeport seeks FERC OK to start introducing LNG to piping system

Freeport LNG, the operator of the three-train 15 mtpa liquefaction plant in Texas, has asked the US FERC for approval to start introducing LNG into the piping system at the plant. The terminal has been offline for some seven months due to an incident that took place on June 8 last year.

According to a FERC filling dated January 22, Freeport has completed all repairs needed to restart the export facility on Quintana Island.

Freeport is requesting authorization to cool down the Loop 1 LNG transfer piping and and reinstate the facility’s boil off gas (BOG) management compressors and associated piping as its initial step to resuming normal operations at the export facility.

The LNG terminal operator delayed the restart of the plant several times and in the latest update issued in December, Freeport said it planned the initial restart of its liquefaction facility in the second half of January 2023.

Freeport must obtain written approval from FERC before restarting any non-emergency operations in existing facilities, and commissioning and placing any facilities back into service.

More approvals needed

Freeport said in the filling that cool down of the Loop 1 LNG transfer piping includes the “slow and deliberate introduction of LNG into the piping system to allow the piping to cool down to cryogenic temperatures necessary for circulation of LNG within the Loop 1 piping system and to transfer LNG to Dock 1 of the export facility.”

According to the LNG terminal operator, it would perform LNG cool down “slowly and methodically over a period of approximately 11 days to ensure that the temperature rate change does not exceed thermal shock tolerances.”

As a result of the cooldown, BOG production within the facility will increase as the movement of cold vapor and subsequently, LNG increases.

“As opposed to directing this increased BOG production to the facility flare, the BOG can be routed to the facility BOG management compressors and transported via pipeline to the upstream pretreatment facility for use as fuel gas,” it said.

The firm asked FERC to respond to this request by January 24.

Also, Freeport would need subsequent approvals to start Loop 1 LNG circulation and ship loading to Dock 1, as well as to start returning the liquefaction trains to operation, it said.

BP, Jera, Osaka Gas, SK E&S, as well as TotalEnergies have long-term contracts with Freeport LNG.

Besides the three trains, Freeport LNG is also planning to add another production unit with a capacity of 5 mtpa, but it has not yet taken a final investment decision.

In October, US energy regulators granted Freeport LNG’s request for a 26-month extension of time to build the fourth liquefaction train.

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