NFE expects to launch Altamira LNG production in March

US LNG firm New Fortress Energy expects to start production of liquefied natural gas at its first FLNG project off Altamira, Mexico in March.

The Wes Edens-led firm announced this in its fourth-quarter results report issued on Thursday.

NFE is now expecting “first LNG in March and first cargo in April 2024,” it said.

In its latest update in November 2023, NFE said it completed “sailaway, installation, and first gas for our first FLNG asset in offshore Altamira, Mexico.”

The company said in its third-quarter report it expected to achieve first LNG and to reach full commercial operation by the end of the fourth quarter last year.

NFE sent its liquefaction rig Pioneer II on September 26, 2023 to Altamira to start serving the FLNG project.

Prior to this, NFE’s utilities and accommodation rig, Pioneer III, arrived off Altamira, as well as the gas treatment rig.

The $1.3 billion FLNG project consists of three rigs, Pioneer I, II, and III.

Besides the three rigs, the 160,000-cbm Penguin FSU serves the project as a floating storage unit.

NFE said in the report that Penguin is moored and connected and “awaiting first LNG”.

NFE expects to launch Altamira LNG production in March
Image: New Fortress Energy

Second Altamira LNG project

NFE said in the report its has also secured financing commitments of $700 million for its second LNG project located onshore Altamira.

The firm said it expects to begin construction on this project in April and complete it in the first quarter of 2026.

It expects to complete the modules in the third quarter of 2025.

NFE previously signed a letter of intent with CFE to install FLNG units 2 and 3 onshore at the existing Altamira terminal.

The firm said in the report that there is sufficient land for up to two 1.4 mtpa units, while the facility features two LNG tanks and a jetty.

NFE signed separate deals with CFE and Pemex aimed at installing LNG production units off Mexico.

Under the deal with CFE, the firm agreed to create a new FLNG hub off the coast of Altamira, Tamaulipas.

In early June last year, the US LNG firm received an export permit for its Altamira Fast LNG facility from Mexico’s Ministry of Energy (SENER).

Under the permit, NFE is authorized to export up to 7.8 million metric tons through April, 2028, providing ample capacity to support the operations of the 1.4 mtpa LNG facility through the permitted period, it said.

US Customs and Border Protection has also issued a ruling confirming that the transportation of LNG produced at New Fortress Energy’s FLNG facility located offshore Altamira, Mexico by non-US qualified vessels would not violate the Jones Act.

NFE expects to launch Altamira LNG production in March
Barcarena FSRU terminal (Image: New Fortress Energy)

Barcarena FSRU starts operations

NFE also announced on Thursday that its 6 mtpa (300 TBtu) Barcarena LNG terminal located in Para, Brazil is now operational.

The 160,000-cbm FSRU, Energos Celsius, recently arrived at NFE’s terminal in Barcarena following a trip from Singapore.

The converted FSRU, owned by Apollo’s Energos Infrastructure, left Seatrium’s yard in Singapore in December last year.

Moreover, the 2013-built vessel, previously known as Golar Celsius, is on long-term charter to NFE in Brazil.

Energos Celsius has a nominal regasification capacity of 750 million standard cubic
feet per day (mmscfd), up to a maximum capacity of 1,000 mmscfd.

The facility consists of an offshore terminal and FSRU that will supply LNG to several industrial customers, including a 15-year contract with Norsk Hydro’s Alunorte refinery, the largest alumina refinery in the world, NFE said.

NFE expects to immediately begin delivering natural gas to Norsk Hydro’s Alunorte refinery under the gas supply agreement.

The Barcarena terminal will also supply natural gas to NFE’s 630 MW power plant, which is currently under construction adjacent to the Barcarena terminal.

The power plant “remains on track” to achieve COD in the third quarter of 2025 and is about 50 percent complete, it said.

Santa Catarina LNG terminal

Besides the Barcarena facility, NFE said in November that its LNG import terminal in Santa Catarina, Brazil is expected to start commercial operations in January 2024.

NFE executed a definitive deal to charter the 138,250-cbm FSRU Energos Winter from Brazil’s state-owned energy firm Petrobras starting in December 2023.

This FSRU, also owned by Energos Infrastructure, serves the Santa Catarina terminal.

NFE said in the new report that has placed the Santa Catarina terminal into service in February.

The launch of the two terminals marks a “significant milestone as it now fully opens our Brazil operations, and we expect to begin generating revenue in March 2024,” the firm said.

“The Brazilian gas and power markets are growing significantly, and our terminals give us significant opportunities to grow and expand our company, NFE said.

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