Cheniere Energy Inc’s liquefied natural gas plant at its Sabine Pass terminal in Cameron Parish is reportedly closer to exporting LNG after hitting delays, Bloomberg reports.
Cheniere is ramping up operations of its compressors after a jump in natural gas supplies on Tuesday, a signal that the plant is getting closer to liquefying the fuel for export, according to Genscape Inc.
Genscape’s infrared cameras pointed at the Louisiana plant “saw in real time the increase in activity, with all six of the compressors operating as a result of the large feed-gas supply today,” Jason Lord, an analyst with the data provider in Boulder, Colorado, says in an email to Bloomberg.
Cheniere didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment from Bloomberg.
Cheniere had hoped to be exporting LNG from the plant by now, but said last month it is now hoping to ship out its first exports by late this month or early March. The company cited “instrumentation issues” discovered during the final phases of plant commissioning and cool-down as the reason for the delay.
Cheniere is in the process of starting to produce LNG to become the first exporter of the fuel from U.S. shale formations.
Gas nominations to the Sabine Pass terminal jumped 64% on Tuesday to 131,108 dekatherms from the previous day, the most since Dec. 27, according to Ventyx data compiled by Bloomberg. The increase was reported on the Creole Trail-SPLIQ-D delivery point. Nominations have been zero at SPLIQ/NGPL delivery point for the past four weeks.
“These sort of feed-gas volumes and quick ramp-up to these large volumes are showing strong progress to the startup process for Train 1,” Lord says, adding he expects to see volumes to continue to climb, reaching 600,000 dekatherms a day, or the equivalent of 600 million cubic feet.
There was also increased flaring activity from the smokestacks at the liquefaction plant, referred to as Train 1, and “when commercial liquefaction has started it is expected that flaring will be minimal unless there is an emergency or planned shutdown,” he says.
Two LNG tankers—the Energy Atlantic and Asia Vision—are waiting in the Gulf of Mexico to take the first cargoes, according to Genscape data.
While Cheniere works to produce its first LNG exports from the Louisiana plant, Bloomberg also recently reported the company is seeking to borrow about $2.6 billion to refinance a pipeline and its underused import LNG facility at Sabine Pass facility.