Venture Global seeks more time to complete Calcasieu Pass LNG terminal

US LNG exporter Venture Global LNG has requested more time from the US FERC to complete the commissioning of its Calcasieu Pass LNG export terminal in Louisiana.

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.

One-year extension

“Calcasieu Pass has now completed nearly all of the construction of the project, but the commissioning phase continues with respect to certain essential facilities,” Venture Global told the US FERC in a filling dated February 15.

According to Venture Global, the 2019 FERC authorization says that the Calcasieu Pass proposed liquefaction facilities shall be constructed and made available for service within five years of the order date, or by February 21, 2024.

“Calcasieu Pass believes that it has complied with that condition, as written and read literally, because all of the project’s “proposed liquefaction facilities” (i.e., the 18 liquefaction trains configured in 9 blocks) have been placed in-service, following the Commission Staff’s October 2023 authorization for Calcasieu Pass to place its liquefaction blocks 7-9 in-service,” it said.

“While the in-service condition in the order does not utilize a more encompassing term or phrase, such as: “all of Calcasieu Pass’ facilities”, or “the export terminal,” or Calcasieu Pass’ “proposed project,” some interested stakeholders may nevertheless interpret the condition more broadly than its plain language suggests,” Venture Global said.

According to Venture Global, if the condition were to be so interpreted, Calcasieu Pass “would not be able to comply with the condition as a result of the continuing need for further commissioning, repair, rectification, and completion of certain facilities.”

Work to be completed in Q4 2024

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.”

That conclusion is reflected in the previously mentioned liquefaction in-service NTP, which recognized that reliability issues with certain other facilities, notably the heat recovery steam generators or “HRSGs”, require those facilities to remain in the commissioning process and the subject of a future in-service authorization, it said.

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.”

“Accordingly, to ensure compliance with the authorization order and full transparency, Calcasieu Pass hereby requests a one-year extension of the in-service condition set forth in ordering paragraph (B) to the extent that the Commission deems it necessary because certain of Calcasieu Pass’ authorized facilities — other than its liquefaction trains — will not be in-service by February 21, 2024,” Venture Global said.

“Alternatively, if the Commission interprets the in-service condition as applicable only to those liquefaction facilities, Calcasieu Pass requests that the Commission instead confirm that Calcasieu Pass has complied with the in-service condition,” it said.

Shell, BP

Long-term customers of the Calcasieu pass facility include Shell, BP, Edison, Repsol, Galp, and PGNiG.

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 previously launched arbitration proceedings against Venture Global.

Shell’s CEO Wael Sawan recently said that Venture Global has sold around 250 commissioning cargoes up to date.

“And what we see is that the plant is at or near capacity and has been consistently. So, we’re very much focused on continuing to enforce our legal rights and protect the sanctity of contracts that are there. I won’t get into the details of the legal proceedings,” he said.

“As far as Venture Global itself, it continues in commercial dispute. I’m not going to get into any details on it other than to say that we will enforce our rights rigorously,” BP’s CEO Murray Auchincloss recently said responding to a question about the dispute during the company’s earnings call.

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