Freeport LNG Gives Update on Plant Blast

Freeport LNG Gives Update on Plant Blast
A return to full plant operations at the Freeport LNG liquefaction plant on Quintana Island, Texas, is not expected until late 2022.

Freeport LNG Development L.P. has revealed that the completion of all necessary repairs and a return to full plant operations at the Freeport LNG liquefaction plant on Quintana Island, Texas, is not expected until late 2022. 

The company noted that, given the relatively contained area of the facility physically impacted by the incident, a resumption of partial operations is targeted to be achieved in approximately 90 days, once the safety and security of doing so can be assured and all regulatory clearances are obtained.

“Freeport LNG is mindful of the impact this incident and our suspension of operations has on our personnel, our surrounding community, and the domestic and international gas and LNG markets,” Freeport LNG said in a company statement. 

“We have immense gratitude for the selfless efforts undertaken by Freeport LNG operators and emergency response personnel and local emergency responders to quickly address and contain the impacts of the event on our facilities, our personnel, and the surrounding community,” the company added in the statement.

The company outlined that the incident which occurred at the plant on June 8 resulted in the release of LNG, leading to the formation and ignition of a natural gas vapor cloud and subsequent fire at the facility. Freeport LNG confirmed that there were no injuries as a result of the incident and highlighted that incident did not pose a threat to the surrounding community at any time. 

“In accordance with Freeport LNG’s safety design parameters, the LNG vapor cloud dispersion and ignition thereof were at all times contained within the fence line of the liquefaction facility, lasting approximately 10 seconds,” Freeport LNG said in a company statement.

“The fire and associated smoke visible thereafter were from the burning of materials in and around the location where the incident occurred, such as piping insulation and cabling. With the assistance of local area emergency response personnel, the resultant fire was extinguished approximately 40 minutes after the initial incident,” the company added.

“While the burning of those materials resulted in carbon monoxide, nitrous oxide, particulate matter, sulfur dioxide and volatile organic compound emissions, these were of limited quantity due to the short duration of the fire and not at levels that posed any immediate risk to Freeport LNG personnel or the surrounding community,” Freeport LNG continued.

The company went on to note that there was no release of any other chemicals or substances from the plant during the event and said water used to suppress the subsequent fire was captured on site and will be tested and confirmed free of any harmful contaminants before being released or removed for proper disposal.

Freeport LNG also highlighted that its investigation into the cause of the incident, and what steps are necessary to safely resume liquefaction operations, is underway. 

“Preliminary observations suggest that the incident resulted from the overpressure and rupture of a segment of an LNG transfer line, leading to the rapid flashing of LNG and the release and ignition of the natural gas vapor cloud,” the company said.

“Additional investigation is underway to determine the underlying precipitating events that enabled the overpressure conditions in the LNG piping,” Freeport LNG added.

In a market note sent to Rigzone recently, Rystad Energy Analyst Zonqiang Luo said the Freeport LNG blast spells trouble for Europe but opens a potentially lucrative opportunity for North and West African gas exporters to fill the gap. In the note, Luo highlighted that Freeport LNG had announced that the plant would remain shut for three weeks but the analyst warned that the possible extent of the damage to the facility was yet to be determined and said it may be out of service for longer.

On June 8, a statement posted on Freeport LNG’s official Facebook page announced that an incident had occurred at the Freeport LNG facility on Quintana Island at about 11.40 am. An update posted on the company’s Facebook page on the same day revealed that the incident had been stabilized and that the company was in the early stages of its investigation of the event.

Freeport LNG is an LNG export company headquartered in Houston, Texas. The company’s three train, 15 million ton per annum liquefaction facility is the seventh largest in the world and second largest in the U.S., Freeport LNG highlights. According to its site, Freeport LNG is developing a fourth natural gas liquefaction unit that will add to the three trains already in commercial operation. This expansion will allow for the export of an additional five million tons per annum of LNG, at least, increasing Freeport LNG’s total export capability to more than 20 million tons per annum of LNG per year, the company outlined.

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