By Charles Kennedy
Freeport LNG on Monday confirmed for Oilprice.com that repairs had been completed at its liquefied natural gas export facility, which has been offline since June, and that a request to restart by introducing LNG to the piping system had been filed with regulators.
In the regulatory filing, Freeport LNG asked regulators for a response to their restart request by Tuesday.
The Texas-based Freeport LNG export terminal has been offline since a June explosion and subsequent fire.
Rystad Energy is speculating that Freeport LNG will not be able to restart until March.
In a statement to Rigzone last week, Rystad Energy Vice President Emily McClain, said “Freeport LNG’s restart will support U.S. LNG exports this year, but the timing remains uncertain”. With regard to a “full ramp-up”, McClain said it was not expected until “mid-year”.
Speculation, however, remains just that, with Freeport LNG sticking to its original timetable.
On January 11, Freeport LNG told Oilprice.com that there was “no change to our restart timeline. We are still targeting the second half of this month for the safe, initial restart of our liquefaction facility, pending regulatory approvals.”
Freeport, responsible for some 20% of total LNG exports from the United States and generating $35 billion in revenue during the first nine months of 2022, served Europe well last year as the continent looked to squelch a growing energy crisis this winter.
The pending restart comes as natural gas prices rebounded slightly on Monday with a 10% jump, but only after shedding over 7% last week and over 50% over the past four weeks, prompting the CEO of Chesapeake to warn that the industry may have to moderate supply growth.
Demand for natural gas is declining from its peak last year, prompted by Europe. However, with European storage full and winter proving much milder than anticipated, demand is dragging.