Freeport LNG gets OK to launch commercial ops at two trains

Freeport LNG has secured regulatory approval to launch commercial operations of two trains at its 15 mtpa liquefaction plant in Texas as part of the restart process.

“Today’s authorization provides for the immediate full return to service of one liquefaction train, that has already restarted, and the incremental restart and full return to service of a second train,” Freeport LNG said.

The restart and return to service of Freeport LNG’s third liquefaction train will require subsequent regulatory approval once the LNG terminal operator meets certain operational conditions, it said.

The US FERC said in a separate filling on Tuesday that it granted Freeport LNG’s request to “commission, including cooldown, of liquefaction Train 2, and return to service certain Phase I facilities, including liquefaction Trains 2 and 3, Tanks 1 and 2, Loop 1 and Dock 1.”

“This letter does not grant authorization to commission or place Train 1 (Unit 11), LNG Tank 3, Loop 2, and Dock 2 back into service,” it said.

Full production expected over the “next several weeks”

Freeport LNG confirmed in the statement that first LNG production and ship loading from the facility began on February 11.

The LNG terminal operator shipped the first cargo from its LNG export plant in Texas since the shutdown in June last year onboard the 2008-built 155,000-cbm LNG carrier, Kmarin Diamond.

Following the first partial shipment, at least two more vessels left the plant, after loading LNG out of storage tanks.

“A conservative ramp-up profile to establish three-train production of approximately 2.0 billion cubic feet per day is anticipated to occur over the next several weeks as stable operation of each incremental train is established and maintained,” Freeport LNG said.

Operations are initially utilizing two of Freeport LNG’s three LNG storage tanks and one of its two LNG berths.

Freeport LNG expects the second LNG berth and third LNG storage tank to return to service in May.

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

Eight months of work

Michael Smith, Freeport LNG founder and CEO, said in the statement that returning to liquefaction operations is a “significant achievement” for Freeport LNG.

“Over the past eight months, we have implemented enhancements to our processes, procedures and training to ensure safe and reliable operations, and significantly increased staffing levels with extensive LNG and petrochemical operating experience to reduce overtime, enhance operational excellence, and improve quality assurance and business performance,” he said.

“Eight months of diligence, discipline and dedicated efforts by our teams, working collaboratively alongside the regulatory agencies and local officials, have positioned us to resume LNG production and commence ramp-up to the safe establishment of commercial operations of our liquefaction facility,” Smith said.

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