US FERC to inspect closed Freeport LNG export plant in September

The US Federal Energy Regulatory Commission said its staff plans to conduct a technical review and site inspection of the closed Freeport LNG facilities in Texas during September 13-15.

“However, given the current circumstances, this date may be postponed or a technical review and/or virtual inspection may occur in its place,” FERC said in a letter to Freeport LNG dated July 19.

To remind, Freeport LNG said on July 1 it expects to resume partial liquefaction operations at its export plant in Texas in early October after an incident took place at the facility on June 8.

The new estimate came after the US Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) said that Freeport LNG must complete several corrective actions prior to restarting the plant.

The LNG terminal operator continues to target year-end for a return to full production.

This shutdown reduced US LNG exports by some 2 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d), or 17 percent of the total US LNG export capacity.

It also affected supplies and prices in Europe as most of the LNG produced at the Freeport plant landed in Europe this year.

Freeport LNG, led by billionaire Michael Smith, launched commercial operations in May 2020 for the third train at its Quintana Island facility.

This event also marked the full commercial operation of Freeport LNG’s $13.5 billion, three-train facility. It has a capacity of more than 15 mtpa or some 2 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d)

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

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.

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