Freeport LNG to shut Trains 1, 2 at Texas facility until May

Production capacity should increase after maintenance work is completed.

Alfie Shaw March 21 2024

Freeport LNG shut down the Train 2 liquefaction unit at its Texas plant on Wednesday, and Train 1 will be closed soon as it expects inspections and repairs at both the units to be completed by May.

A company spokesman told Reuters in an email: “It was during the January freeze that damage occurred in one of the Train 3 motors. Once we understood the cause of the damage, we knew it would be prudent to take proactive steps to inspect our other two trains.”

Freeport said Train 3 is back up and running, producing liquefied natural gas (LNG). Each of the trains can change around 700,000,000 cubic feet per day of gas into LNG.

According to the company, after the maintenance work, its production capacity will increase by 10% from 15 million tonnes per annum (mtpa) to just over 16.5mtpa by June.

The company is also looking to build the additional Train 4, which will add another 25% of LNG capacity when it becomes operational. Train 4 still needs to receive regulatory approval.

As the third-biggest LNG export plant in the US, fluctuations in output at Freeport LNG can significantly influence price movement in the US and European gas markets.

In 2022, a fire at Freeport led to its closure for an extended period, causing a 16% drop in the price of US gas futures. Freeport was closed for eight months until it reopened in February 2023.

Gas flows to the seven biggest US LNG export plants have fallen to an average of 13.3 billion cubic feet per day (bcf/d) in March, down from 13.7bcf/d in February and a monthly record of 14.7bcf/d in December, according to London Stock Exchange Group data.

According to Reuters, analysts do not expect US LNG feed gas to return to record levels until all three liquefaction trains at Freeport return to full service.

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