US Regulators Want More Data on Texas Freeport LNG Plant Before Restart

(Reuters) — U.S. federal regulators have told Freeport LNG to provide information needed for the planned restart of its LNG export plant in Texas, the second-largest U.S. LNG export plant, as soon as possible to allow sufficient time for review.

Freeport shut on June 8 due to a pipeline explosion. The company has said it expects the 2.1 billion cubic-feet-per-day plant to return to at least partial service in early- to mid-November.

"We continue to progress our work towards achieving the November restart of our liquefaction facility," Freeport LNG spokesperson Heather Browne said in an email.

"That work includes completing the final repair and restoration efforts, completing required work plans and obtaining the necessary regulatory approvals required before the facility's restart," Browne said.

The U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) said in a filing on Monday that it participated in a call on Oct. 27 with the U.S. Department of Transportation's Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) and Freeport LNG to discuss "ongoing damage assessments, repair work plans and plans for restart."

On that call, FERC said both FERC and PHMSA reiterated the need for Freeport to provide "the status and schedule of implementing the findings, recommendations, and lessons learned resulting from the root cause investigation and assessments" as soon as possible to allow sufficient review time.

Freeport cannot restart without regulatory approval.

At least four vessels were already lined up to pick up LNG at Freeport, according to Refinitiv data. Prism Brilliance and Prism Diversity were waiting off the coast from the plant, while Prism Courage was expected to arrive on Nov. 1 and Grace Freesia on Nov. 27.

Freeport LNG has said it aims to restore more than 85% of pre-fire processing capacity next month and complete repairs to bring the facility back to 100% by March.

The plant's restart will provide needed fuel for heating and power as winter descends on the Northern Hemisphere.

Global LNG prices have cooled with Europe's gas storage levels rising to around 95% of capacity. Prices at the Dutch hub TRNLTTFMc1 this week fell to $27 per million British thermal units, the lowest level since June.

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