Texas Freeport LNG Unit Faces Month-Long Outage after Winter Storm

Reuters, January 29, 2024

U.S. liquefied natural gas (LNG) company Freeport LNG said on Friday it expects one of three liquefaction units at its Texas plant will be out of service for about a month after it faced a technical issue during last week's Arctic freeze. This shutdown was the latest in a series of incidents at the plant since it exited an eight-month outage from June 2022 to February 2023 following a fire and explosion.

Since April, at least one liquefaction train at the plant has shut or tripped - sometimes several times, according to company filings with state environmental regulators.

"One of our refrigeration electric motors at our liquefaction facility experienced an electrical issue that will necessitate a replacement of the motor with an on-hand spare," the company told Reuters about the latest incident in an email.

Natural gas prices around the world were little changed following the Freeport news as the global market is already well supplied with fuel due to a mostly mild winter. So far in January, each of the three trains at Freeport have either tripped or experienced shutdowns for other reasons at least five times, according to company filings with state regulators. Those filings showed that Train 1 had a trip or shutdown that caused an emissions event on Jan. 24-25, Train 2 on Jan. 24, Jan. 22 and Jan. 16-17, and Train 3 on Jan. 17. Each of the three trains at Freeport can turn about 0.7 billion cubic feet per day (bcfd) of natural gas into LNG.

Those Freeport outages helped cut the amount of gas flowing to the nation's seven big LNG export plants by around 6% to an average of 13.8 bcfd so far in January, down from a monthly record of 14.7 bcfd in December. One billion cubic feet of gas is enough to supply about 5 million U.S. homes for a day. The U.S. became the world's biggest LNG supplier in 2023, ahead of recent leaders Australia and Qatar, as much higher global prices , , fed demand for more exports due in part to supply disruptions and sanctions linked to Russia's war in Ukraine.

(Reporting by Deep Vakil and Scott DiSavino; Editing by Jan Harvey, David Gregorio and Marguerita Choy)

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