Venture Global LNG’s customers get access to Calcasieu Pass documents

The US FERC has ordered LNG exporter Venture Global LNG 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, now part of Orlen, 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 the 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.”

FERC to appoint administrative judge

BP, Unipec, Edison, Galp, Orlen, Repsol, and Shell filed motions to intervene and submitted requests for material that Venture Global filed as privileged in February this year.

The Calcasieu Pass customers filed comments asserting that they cannot properly comment on the extension of time request without access to documents in the record regarding the commissioning status of the project that Venture Global has filed as privileged, according to a FERC filling dated June 10.

Venture Global objected to the customers’ requests for privileged documents and refused to release the documents under a protective agreement unless ordered to do so by the Commission.

FERC said in the filling it is referring the matter to an administrative law judge and requiring Venture Global to provide its customers with access to the requested material.

The regulator would appoint the judge to establish procedural dates, and to rule on all motions.

If the parties cannot reach an agreement on the terms of a protective agreement, the judge shall issue a protective order no more than 45 days from the date of this order, it said.

Within five days of receiving an executed protective agreement, Venture Global must provide the requested materials to interested parties pursuant to the terms of the protective agreement, the regulator said.

124 weekly commissioning and site inspection reports

LNG Prime invited Venture Global and Shell to comment on the new order.

“This order from the regulator is a victory for transparency and, hopefully, leads to information about why Venture Global continues to pursue a strategy to delay declaring the end of the commissioning process and avoid delivering cargoes to the very partners who enabled its project,” a Shell spokesperson said.

A spokeswoman for Venture Global said “FERC has issued a procedural order that grants particular parties access to certain confidential and competitive information that Venture Global filed under seal consistent with industry precedent, related to ongoing heat recovery steam generator (HRSG) repairs with which to evaluate our in-service extension request.”

These parties have previously said they could not fully comment on Venture Global’s extension request because they did not have access to all relevant confidential information, she said.

“They will now have access to this information-including 124 weekly commissioning and site inspection reports-that document the significant issues impacting this critical power plant equipment,” the spokeswoman said.

“FERC has no interest in any outstanding commercial disputes between Venture Global and its customers, which are unrelated to this routine extension request,” she added.

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