Freeport LNG gets approval to restart more of export plant in Texas (U.S.)

(Reuters) - U.S. LNG company Freeport LNG received approval from federal energy regulators to take more steps to return its export plant in Texas to full operation.

A return to full operation would allow the plant, which shut for about eight months from June 2022 to February 2023 after a fire, to supply more LNG to global markets ahead of the winter heating season when demand for natural gas soars in the Northern Hemisphere.

Global gas prices spiked to record highs in Europe and Asia over the summer of 2022 due in part to the Freeport LNG shutdown while Russia was reducing the amount of gas it supplied to Europe after Moscow's invasion of Ukraine.

In a filing, the U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) granted Freeport LNG's request to take some steps needed to start to return the plant's second dock (Dock 2) to service.

FERC, however, said that additional authorization to restart operations "is necessary to reinstate service for Loop 2 LNG circulation to enable ship loading to Dock 2."

Freeport LNG spokesperson Heather Browne told Reuters in an email that the company continues "to work collaboratively with regulators as we progress toward the safe return of our second dock to service following the June 8, 2022 incident at our liquefaction facility."

In the first phase of its restart efforts, Freeport returned the three liquefaction trains, two LNG storage tanks (Tanks 1 and 2) and a single LNG berth (Dock 1) to service.

When operating at full power, the three liquefaction trains at Freeport LNG can turn about 2.1 billion cubic feet per day (bcfd) of gas into LNG.

The plant, which has had several incidents that caused liquefaction trains to trip over the past few months, has been pulling in an average of 1.9 bcfd of feed gas since mid-March, according to data from financial firm LSEG.

One billion cubic feet of gas is enough to supply about 5 million U.S. homes for a day.

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