Venture Global gets OK from PHMSA to boost Plaquemines LNG capacity

The US Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) has given the green light to Venture Global LNG for its proposed Plaquemines LNG uprate project.

According to a FERC filing, PHMSA issued a letter of determination on June 21 for the project aimed at increasing the peak liquefaction capacity at the Plaquemines LNG terminal in Louisiana from about 24 mtpa to 27.2 mtpa.

PHMSA and FERC are cooperating together during the permit application review process for US LNG facilities under a memorandum of understanding signed in 2018.

“PHMSA has reviewed the siting package and determined that Plaquemines LNG has demonstrated that the proposed siting of the uprate project and final design modifications complies with the Federal Pipeline Safety Standards set forth in Part 193, Subpart B,” it said.

PHMSA said this LOD is provided to supplement the April 3, 2019 LOD and address the increase in LNG production and final design modifications during the construction of the Plaquemines LNG export terminal that impact siting.

According to the letter, the increase in Plaquemines LNG production capacity is a result of “minimal possible downtime, rich feed gas composition, optimal ambient temperatures, and ideal design margins.”

In January 2023, FERC issued an environmental assessment for the uprate project.

LNG Prime invited Venture Global to comment and provide more information regarding the project, but we did not receive a reply by the time this article was published.

Two phases

Venture Global took a final investment decision in May 2022 on the first phase of the Plaquemines LNG project and the related pipeline.

The company also boosted the size of the first phase from 10 mtpa to 13.3 mtpa and it also secured $13.2 billion in project financing.

In March last year, the company sanctioned the second phase of the Plaquemines LNG export plant in Louisiana and secured $7.8 billion in project financing.

The full project, including the second stage, will have a nominal capacity of 20 mtpa coming from 36 modular units, configured in 18 blocks, Venture Global said.

Venture Global’s Plaquemines LNG plant received in August last year its first liquefaction modules.

Baker Hughes ships these modular units to the US from its manufacturing facility in Italy, the same as the firm did for Venture Global’s Calcasieu Pass project.

In December, Venture Global LNG completed raising the roof on the fourth and final storage tank.

The firm completed raising the roof on the first tank in February, the second tank in April, and the third tank in September.

McDermott’s unit CB&I won a contract from a unit of Venture Global to build the first two LNG storage tanks as part of the first phase while the second phase includes two tanks as well.

First LNG

Venture Global said in April it expects to start LNG production at its Plaquemines LNG export plant in Louisiana in mid-2024.

The company also expects the commissioning process for the Plaquemines LNG terminal to take about 24 months.

FERC recently approved Venture Global LNG’s request to commission the temporary nitrogen system at the Plaquemines LNG plant.

Plaquemines LNG phase one customers include PGNiG, now part of Orlen, Sinopec, CNOOC, Shell, and EDF.

As per Plaquemines LNG phase two customers, they include ExxonMobil, Chevron, EnBW, New Fortress Energy, China Gas, Petronas, and Excelerate Energy.

Calcasieu Pass

FERC recently ordered Venture Global to provide its customers with documents about the commissioning of the Calcasieu Pass LNG export terminal in Louisiana.

Customers of the Calcasieu pass facility include Shell, BP, Edison, Repsol, Galp, PGNiG, Sinopec’s unit Unipec, and CNOOC.

Energy giants Shell and BP and other firms are in an dispute with Venture Global over the launch of commercial operations at the facility and they previously launched arbitration proceedings against Venture Global.

Calcasieu Pass produced its first LNG on January 19, 2022, and the first commissioning cargo left the facility on March 1.

However, Venture Global has not yet declared the start of commercial operations at the 10 mtpa facility which consists of 18 modular units configured in 9 blocks, and it has sold more than 250 commissioning cargoes up to date.

The firm in February asked FERC to extend the in-service deadline for the facility for one additional year, or by February 21, 2025.

Venture Global said that Calcasieu Pass has encountered “circumstances that have prevented it from being able to bring all its facilities into service at this time.”

The company cited reliability issues with certain facilities, notably the heat recovery steam generators.

Venture Global said the project’s power generation facilities would remain in commissioning and “cannot be placed in-service until that on-going remediation work is completed, which Calcasieu Pass currently expects to happen during the fourth quarter of 2024.”

According to a filling issued on June 25, FERC approved a request from Venture Global Calcasieu Pass to re-introduce hazardous fluids to HRSG 375.

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