News wire — U.S. liquefied natural gas company Freeport LNG said it was targeting a mid-December restart for its Texas LNG export plant, which has been shut for six months after a fire.
The Freeport plant, the second biggest U.S. LNG export plant, closed in June after an explosion that consultants say was the result of numerous factors including human error and inadequate operating and testing procedures.
U.S. exports of LNG have been steadily increasing for years, and that supply has become crucial to European buyers since Russia cut off the continent’s gas supply in response to sanctions placed on Moscow after its invasion of Ukraine.
Freeport said in a news release that it expects to be turning about 2 billion cubic feet per day of natural gas into LNG in January 2023 and reach full production using both docks in March 2023.
The United States is currently turning about 12 bcfd of gas into LNG, according to data from Refinitiv.
Federal pipeline safety regulators released a heavily redacted consultant’s report this week that blamed inadequate operating and testing procedures, human error and fatigue for the June 8 explosion.
“We are committed to moving forward with an uncompromising safety focus and enhanced operational processes that will enable us to chart a safe, sustainable path forward to serve our customers and the broader LNG market as a whole,” Michael Smith, the founder and chief executive officer of Freeport LNG, said in the release.
Officials at the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) were not immediately available for comment.
Freeport said it submitted proposed remedial work activities for a safe restart of initial operations for their approval.
The company anticipated it would complete all reconstruction work by the end of November.
(Reporting by Kavya Guduru in Bengaluru and Scott DiSavino in New York; Editing by Jonathan Oatis, Alexander Smith and Paul Simao) – Reuters