Gas flows to Freeport LNG export plant resume, Refinitiv data shows

Illustration shows model of LNG tanker and the U.S. flag
Model of LNG tanker is seen in front of the U.S. flag in this illustration taken May 19, 2022. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration/File Photo

Jan 26 (Reuters) - Freeport LNG's long-shut liquefied natural gas (LNG) export plant in Texas started receiving small amounts of pipeline natural gas on Thursday, Refinitiv data shows.

The flows were on track to reach only 22 million cubic feet per day (mmcfd) on Thursday, according to the data.

The last time small amounts of gas started flowing to the plant from Jan. 14-19 - the company used it to maintain a flare system, according to sources familiar with the plant.

When operating at full power, the Freeport LNG facility, which has been shut since June 2022 after a fire, can pull in about 2.1 billion cubic feet per day (bcfd) of pipeline gas.

Energy analysts said they do not expect Freeport to return to service until March or later even though the company told federal regulators this week that the plant was ready to begin the restart process.

Analysts expect that it will likely take weeks before regulators approve the plan Freeport filed this week to start cooling some pipes at the plant, and after that Freeport still has to return to regulators more times to get permission to start other parts of the plant.

With many analysts expecting the Freeport plant to remain shut until spring when demand for gas for heating will decline, U.S. gas futures fell to a 19-month low.

Freeport, the second-biggest U.S. LNG exporter, is important to the gas market because prices and demand will likely rise once the plant restarts.

Reporting by Scott DiSavino Editing by David Goodman and Paul Simao

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