Freeport LNG seeks approval to start introducing gas into third train

Freeport LNG, the operator of the three-train 15 mtpa liquefaction plant in Texas, has asked the US FERC for approval to start introducing natural gas into the third liquefaction train at the plant as part of the restart process.

The terminal has been offline for some seven months due to an incident that took place on June 8 last year.

Freeport LNG recently won approval from FERC to start introducing LNG into the piping system at the plant.

Since obtaining this approval, Freeport has “successfully and safely progressed the cooldown of the Loop 1 transfer piping and reinstatement of BOG management,” the LNG terminal operator said in a letter sent to FERC on January 30.

In order to continue Freeport’s sequential plan to return the export facility to commercial operations, Freeport LNG now requests authorization from FERC for the nitrogen cooldown of the LNG rundown piping system and the introduction of hydrocarbons to Unit 13 (Train 3) for LNG train commissioning and cooldown, it said.

Initial production of LNG

As per the nitrogen cooldown of the LNG rundown piping system, this procedure includes cooling down the main LNG rundown line from the liquefaction trains to the LNG tank area.

Moreover, Freeport LNG would also cool down the LNG recirculation lines to the trains and the individual train rundown branch segments that connect to the main rundown line as part of this process.

With respect to the introduction of hydrocarbons into Unit 13, this process would entail flowing treated natural gas from Freeport’s upstream natural gas pretreatment facility through the feed gas pipeline into the export facility, it said.

Freeport LNG said this is in order to perform remaining system purges in Unit 13 and perform the cooldown of the Unit 13, MCHE, and related refrigeration and LNG piping.

With this process, Freeport LNG would begin the initial production of LNG within Unit 13 for transmission through the nitrogen-cooled LNG rundown piping and into LNG Tanks 1 and 2.

Freeport LNG will need more approvals

Freeport LNG noted that any authorization pursuant to this request would be limited to the nitrogen cool down of the LNG rundown piping system and the commissioning, cool down, and initial LNG production from Unit 13.

“Subsequent approvals will be necessary to commence Loop 1 LNG circulation and ship loading to Dock 1, as well as transition of Unit 13 into full, commercial operations,” the LNG terminal operator said.

“Given the close coordination that Freeport, PHMSA and FERC have maintained over the last seven months as Freeport has repaired the export facility, Freeport would greatly appreciate FERC’s response to this request by February 1, 2023,” it said.

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

Besides the three trains, 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.

In October, FERC granted Freeport LNG’s request for a 26-month extension of time to build the fourth liquefaction train.

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