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A dense fog in the area of the Sabine Pass LNG facility in Louisiana has suffered reduced supplies of natural gas and limited tanker movement, S&P Global Platts reports, adding that the problem could continue throughout the weekend.
The disruption comes amid subdued demand for LNG from Asia combined with increased supply. However, Cheniere Energy this week reaped the benefits of the Phase 1 trade deal between the United States and China, with its shares rising considerably on news that China may buy more than $50 billion worth of additional U.S. energy products, including LNG.
A day earlier, S&P Global Platts reported that natural gas flows into liquefaction trains across the six operating LNG facilities in the United States had shot up to 8.5 billion cu ft in December. This was a record-high amount and represented almost a tenth of the total natural gas production in the country.
New LNG capacity additions were strong last year, providing a much-needed export venue from growing U.S. gas production that pushed prices to historic lows, including several occasions on which they traded below zero. This year, S&P Global Platts analysts expect the addition of new capacity to continue but at a slower pace as competition intensified internationally.
Cheniere Energy is by far the largest U.S. producer and exporter of liquefied natural gas and its Sabine Pass plant is the oldest and largest one, with five liquefaction trains in operation and a sixth one under construction. Cheniere also operates a smaller plant in Corpus Christi in Texas. This one has two liquefaction trains in operation and a third one under construction.
Cheniere booked a 53-percent annual increase in LNG exports during the first nine months of 2019, with the increase in exports during the third quarter alone at 68 percent on a year earlier. However, the company also swung into a loss during the period from a net profit in January-September 2018.
By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com
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Irina is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing on the oil and gas industry.