Less volatile gas prices give newest US LNG plant smoother start-up

US LNG export projects, whether brownfield or greenfield, are multi-year, billion dollar projects. While construction timelines dictate their commissioning schedule, there can be inconvenient and convenient times in the unpredictable natural gas market to begin this testing. The two most recent additions to the US fleet of natural gas liquefaction and export facilities – Cove Point LNG and Corpus Christi LNG – demonstrate this. They began operations about one year apart during the winter months, when gas prices are typically elevated, but disparate conditions over the two winters meant vastly different feedgas costs in the critical ramp-up phase. Corpus Christi, located in Texas, is the latest facility to begin commissioning. It has been making progress toward commercial operation at Train 1 following that train’s first cargo export onboard the Maria Energy, December 11. Meanwhile, its second train recently received Federal Energy Regulatory Commission approval for fuel gas introduction. Corpus Christi facility has enjoyed unusually low 2018-2019 winter gas prices in the Southeast and East Texas. Henry Hub’s cash settlement on Thursday January 3, 2019 priced at $2.685/MMBtu, its lowest price back to May 4, 2018, when it was trading at the same price. Prices since then have climbed back above… continue reading

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