Freeport LNG’s three trains knocked offline after Nicholas makes landfall in Texas
Export terminal uses electric motors to drive compressors
Freeport LNG was unable to produce LNG on Sept. 14 as all three liquefaction trains were knocked offline likely due to power issues caused by Hurricane Nicholas, a spokesperson said.
Nicholas hit the Texas Gulf Coast overnight as a Category 1 hurricane. There was no immediate word when service at the terminal in Brazoria County, south of Houston, would resume. Widespread power outages were reported in the county.
“We continue to assess everything,” Freeport LNG’s Heather Browne said in an e-mail. “No other damage to report at this time.”
The storm, packing 75 mph winds and heavy rain, made landfall along the coast west of the small island where Freeport LNG is located.
Freeport LNG is the only liquefaction terminal in the US and one of only a few in the world that uses exclusively electric motors instead of natural gas turbines to drive the liquefaction compressors. In addition to the three trains currently operating, it has proposed adding a fourth, though it has yet to sanction construction while it continues to build commercial support.
Hours before the storm hit, Freeport LNG was operating normally and continuing to produce LNG.
US LNG feedgas deliveries totaled about 11.4 Bcf/d on Sept. 14, suggesting near full utilization, based on nominations for the morning cycle. That total was likely to be revised downward for the evening cycle due to the disruption at Freeport LNG.
Currently, there are six major LNG export terminals in operation in the US. That total will rise to seven next year and eight by the middle of the decade, based on what’s already under construction. Four or more new export terminals could be sanctioned by the end of next year, based on projects that have already announced firm commercial support.