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Freeport LNG May Remain Shut Down Until 2023

The Freeport LNG facility could remain out of commission until the end of the year as work on the repairs after the blast that shut it down in June continued.

Bloomberg cited unnamed sources as saying Freeport had told its clients it would not be able to ship any cargoes scheduled for this and next month because repairs were not done.

Houston-based Freeport LNG suffered an explosion on June 8, which caused the plant to shut down to assess the damage and perform repairs. Freeport LNG accounts for 20% of the United States' total LNG export capacity, capable of processing 2.1 billion cubic feet of gas per day. According to Freeport LNG, it is the seventh-largest liquefaction facility in the world and the second-largest in the United States.

The explosion that prompted the suspension of operations came at a most unfortunate time for the European Union which increased its imports of U.S. liquefied gas considerably following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the reduction of gas flows to Europe.

There were hopes that Freeport LNG would be back up and running before this year’s end to help stabilize supply and hold prices down, but the latest update will likely extinguish those hope.

Initially, Freeport said the repairs would be done by September but has since then delayed the restart of operations a couple of times. The company also needs to receive the green light from the energy authorities before it can restart operations.

“Our work of progressing towards the restart of our liquefaction facility continues. That work includes obtaining the necessary regulatory approvals required for the restart of our facility,” a spokeswoman for the company told Bloomberg.

Right now, LNG prices are on the decline due to a temporary oversupply ahead of the start of winter in the northern hemisphere, Bloomberg noted in its report, but the news of Freeport’s extended shutdown could change that.

By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com

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