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Freeport LNG has denied a Reuters report citing unnamed sources as saying that the restart of its Texas facility will be pushed back to February due to regulatory approval issues.
On Wednesday, Reuters published a story citing three unnamed sources as saying that seven months into the outage Texas plant, Freeport LNG would delay startup further to next month.
Freeport LNG has denied the rumors attributed to unnamed sources, with a spokesperson telling Oilprice.com that “There is no change to our restart timeline. We are still targeting the second half of this month for the safe, initial restart of our liquefaction facility, pending regulatory approvals”.
In mid-December, Freeport LNG had said it was planning to restart by the end of the year, with full production anticipated in March. A spokesperson at that time told Oilprice.com that the company was “in the process of reviewing the data received December 12 from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC)” and was “developing responsive documentation”.
At the time, Freeport said it was continuing to work towards the initial restart of its liquefaction facility at the end of the year, “provided we obtain the necessary regulatory approvals”.
On December 23, the Freeport said in a statement that it did not anticipate commencing the initial restart until the second half of January 2023–a date timeframe that still stands, according to the company.
FERC’s list of conditions for a restart are long and contain 64 specific conditions that must be met before a restart can be approved.
The 15 million tonne-per-year export terminal has been offline since June after suffering damage from an explosion caused by “isolation of a piping segment containing cryogenic LNG without proper overpressure protection, which LNG then warmed and expanded due to exposure to ambient conditions, resulting in a boiling liquid, expanding vapor explosion…and the rupturing of the piping segment,” according to a Freeport statement from December.
Freeport accounts for some 20% of total LNG exports from the United States.
In the first nine months of last year, U.S. LNG exporters generated $35 billion in revenues, most of which came from European importers stocking up to avoid an energy crisis spurred by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and Western sanctions.
By Charles Kennedy for Oilprice.com
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Charles is a writer for Oilprice.com