NFE says to launch Altamira FLNG project by year-end

US LNG firm New Fortress Energy is working to launch its first FLNG project off Altamira, Mexico by the end of this year.

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

NFE said it completed “sailaway, installation, and first gas for our first FLNG asset in offshore Altamira, Mexico.”

The company expects to achieve first LNG and to reach full commercial operation by the end of the fourth quarter, it said in the report.

NFE did not provide further information regarding the project in the report but its executives said during the company’s earnings call later on Wednesday that the company expects to launch full commercial operations in December.

They said that the the FLNG is in “final stages of commissioning”.

The firm previously delayed the launch of the project and in an update on September 29 said that it planned to launch the FLNG project off Altamira in late October or early November.

NFE says to launch Altamira FLNG project by year-end
Pioneer II (Image: NFE)

NFE sent its liquefaction rig Pioneer II on September 26 to Mexico’s 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.

FSU to arrive in “about 10 days”

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

According to its AIS data, the vessel was on Wednesday located offshore Corpus Christi.

Chris Guinta, NFE’s finance chief, said during the earnings call that the FSU will arrive in “about 10 days” at the site.

He noted that it took only 31 months for the project to achieve first gas since the final investment decision in March 2021.

NFE said this is less than half the time of traditional liquefaction projects and the “fastest LNG development project on the record.”

Guinta said that all three rigs have been connected to each other and hooked up to the subsea pipeline.

“On Monday, we opened the valve of the subsea pipeline and moved the first gas molecules into our system,” he said.

“From now through COD, the process will be to move gas into the turbines and complete commissioning of the power generation system, and then move gas to our pretreatment module,” he said.

“Once LNG is produced, it flows to our FSU,” he said, adding that the company expects to “see the first drops of LNG in the next few weeks.”

More units

In early June, 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 million tons per annum Fast LNG facility through the permitted period, it said.

Last year, 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.

Earlier this year, NFE also signed a letter of intent with CFE to install FLNG units 2 and 3 onshore at the existing Altamira terminal.

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