U.S. natgas flows to Freeport LNG in Texas rise to 2-mos high

(Reuters)The amount of natural gas flowing to Freeport LNG’s export plant in Texas rose to a two-mos high on Sunday in what energy traders said was another sign that the plant was wrapping up a series of outages over the past month or so.

The startup and shutdown of Freeport and other U.S. liquefied natural gas (LNG) export plants often has a major impact on global gas prices.

U.S. gas futures at the Henry Hub benchmark  in Louisiana have soared by around 33% over the past seven days due in part to the increase in demand for fuel from Freeport after it exited an outage early last week.

U.S. gas futures were trading at a 14-week high of $2.19/million British thermal units (MMBtu) on Monday.

Total feedgas to all seven big U.S. LNG export plants rose from an average of 11.9 Bft3d in April to 12.4 Bft3d so far in May with the return of Freeport, according to data from financial firm LSEG. That compares with a monthly record of 14.7 Bft3d in December.

The amount of gas flowing to the 2.1-Bft3d Freeport hit a two-month high of 1.4 Bft3d on Sunday, up from 1.2 Bft3d on Saturday and an average of just 0.4 Bft3d during the month of April. There were almost no gas flows to the plant from April 24-27.

Energy traders said they believe at least two trains at the plant were operating due to the amount of feedgas currently flowing to the plant.

Officials at Freeport were not immediately available to comment on the latest increase in feedgas.

Each Freeport train can turn about 0.7 Bft3d of gas into LNG. One Bft3d is enough gas to supply about 5 million U.S. homes for a day.

In late March, Freeport said it expected two of the three liquefaction trains at the plant, Trains 1 and 2, to remain shut until May for inspections and repairs, while Train 3 was operating. Train 3 shut around April 11.

(Reporting by Scott DiSavino; Editing by Andrea Ricci)


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