Freeport LNG gets clearance to restart commercial operations

By Keefe Borden22 February 2023

Freeport LNG’s Train 1 was successfully commissioned and began commercial operations in December 2019. Train 2 and Train 3 started operations shortly thereafter in January and May 2020. Combined, the three trains can produce over 15 mtpa of LNG. (Photo: Freeport LNG)

Freeport LNG Development has received regulatory approval to start commercial operations of the company’s natural gas liquefaction and export facility in Southeast Texas.

An explosion in June 2022 at the plant forced the company to halt operations. The authorization from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission enables the company to incrementally restart exports.

The authorization allows the company to return its liquefaction train to full service, a process it has already started. The company will incrementally restart and return to full service a second LNG train. The restart and return to service of Freeport LNG’s third liquefaction train will require subsequent regulatory approval once certain operational conditions are met, the company said.

Freeport LNG plans a conservative ramp-up profile to establish three-train production of approximately 2.0 Bcf/d over the next several weeks as stable operation of each incremental train is established and maintained.

The company is initially utilizing two of Freeport LNG’s three LNG storage tanks and one of its two LNG berths. It plans to bring a second second LNG berth and third LNG storage tank to service in May. First LNG production and ship loading from the facility began on February 11.

“Returning to liquefaction operations is a significant achievement for Freeport LNG,” said Michael Smith, Freeport LNG founder, chairman and CEO.

“Over the past eight months, we have implemented enhancements to our processes, procedures and training to ensure safe and reliable operations, and significantly increased staffing levels with extensive LNG and petrochemical operating experience to reduce overtime, enhance operational excellence, and improve quality assurance and business performance. Eight months of diligence, discipline and dedicated efforts by our teams, working collaboratively alongside the regulatory agencies and local officials, have positioned us to resume LNG production and commence ramp-up to the safe establishment of commercial operations of our liquefaction facility.”

Houston-based Freeport LNG operates a three-train 15 metric tonnes per annum (MTPA) liquefaction facility, the second largest in the U.S. Freeport plans to expand by adding a fourth liquefaction train, which has received all regulatory approvals for construction. Freeport was formed in 2002 to develop, own and operate an LNG terminal on Quintana Island, near Freeport, Texas.

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