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U.S. LNG Exports Unchanged In February Despite Partial Restart At Freeport

U.S. LNG exports were basically unchanged in February compared to January, per shipping data from Refinitiv Eikon, despite the partial restart of some operations at Freeport LNG following a fire last June.

U.S. exporters of liquefied natural gas shipped out a total of 96 cargoes with 6.84 million tons of LNG in February, up by 9% from February 2022, but unchanged from January 2023, according to Refinitiv Eikon’s data quoted by Reuters.

Of the February 2023 shipments, 68% headed to Europe, while another at least 15% were en route to Asia, the data showed.

Exports were flat despite the partial resumption of commercial operations at the second-largest U.S. LNG export facility, Freeport LNG.

At the end of February, the operator of Freeport LNG received regulatory approval to resume commercial operations of its natural gas liquefaction and export facility.  

The Freeport LNG export facility in Texas was shut down in June last year when a fire broke out and damaged the plant.

The 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 in a statement on February 21.

The third liquefaction train will need subsequent regulatory approval for restart and a return to service once certain operational conditions are met.

First LNG production and ship loading from the facility—which currently uses two of Freeport LNG's three LNG storage tanks and one of its two LNG berths—began on February 11, the company said.

The return of Freeport LNG is set to further ease concerns about LNG supply in Europe, which has managed well its gas supply and demand so far this winter, mostly due to long periods of mild weather and lower consumption because of demand destruction in the industry and energy savings from households.

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By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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