Freeport LNG Gets Go Ahead to Restart Final Train

Freeport LNG Gets Go Ahead to Restart Final Train
'A conservative ramp-up profile to establish full three-train production is anticipated to occur over the next few weeks'.

Freeport LNG Development, L.P. has announced that it has received regulatory approvals from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) and the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) to restart Train 1.

This is the final train of Freeport LNG’s three train liquefaction facility to receive restart authorization, the company highlighted in a statement posted on its website. Freeport LNG noted in the statement that Trains 2 and 3 returned to full commercial operation “in recent weeks” and revealed that they had reached production levels “in excess of 1.5 billion cubic feet per day”.

“As the recommissioning of Freeport’s liquefaction facility continues and trains are restarted, changes in feed gas flows and production rates are to be anticipated, given the duration of the plant’s outage,” Freeport LNG said in the statement.

“As previously stated, a conservative ramp-up profile to establish full three-train production is anticipated to occur over the next few weeks,” the company added.

On February 21, Freeport LNG announced that it had received regulatory approval to commence commercial operations of the company’s natural gas liquefaction and export facility. The company highlighted at the time that the authorization provided for the immediate full return to service of one liquefaction train, which it said had already restarted, “and the incremental restart and full return to service of a second train”.

In that announcement, the company said the restart and return to service of Freeport LNG’s third liquefaction train “will require subsequent regulatory approval once certain operational conditions are met”.

“A conservative ramp-up profile to establish three-train production of approximately 2.0 billion cubic
feet per day is anticipated to occur over the next several weeks as stable operation of
each incremental train is established and maintained,” the company noted at the time.

“Operations are initially utilizing two of Freeport LNG’s three LNG storage tanks and one of its two LNG berths. The second LNG berth and third LNG storage tank are expected to return to service in May. First LNG production and ship loading from the facility began on February 11,” the company added at the time.

In a market update sent to Rigzone prior to Freeport LNG’s latest announcement, Rystad Energy Vice President Emily McClain said, “Freeport LNG’s intake is ramping up quickly, signaling a U.S. gas export surge is imminent”.

“However, domestic demand will likely stay subdued as warmer weather patterns emerge in the coming weeks. Withdrawals from storage have barely put a dent in inventories recently, and that won’t change any time soon with spring on the horizon, so expect the U.S. gas market to maintain its bearish sentiment,” McClain added.

“Freeport LNG feedgas levels have risen to over 1.3 billion cubic feet per day at the start of the week and are expected to climb as the operator continues to ramp up production from two of its three trains, while still waiting on a green light for the final train’s restart,” McClain continued.

“Though Freeport LNG had a late start in February, the plant provided additions of 340 million cubic feet per day to total LNG exports which rose to nearly 11 billion cubic feet per day for the month. With additional volumes expected, we estimate LNG exports will average 12.3 billion cubic feet per day in March,” McClain went on to note.

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