Sabine Pass LNG Terminal Ramps Up After Gas Supply Jump

Cheniere Energy Inc.’s Sabine Pass terminal is ramping up operations of its compressors after a jump in natural gas supplies 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, said in an e-mailed report.

Cheniere didn’t immediately respond to an e-mailed request for comment.

Cheniere is in the process of starting to produce liquefied natural gas to become the first exporter of the fuel from U.S. shale formations. The initial shipment was delayed to later this month or March from the third week of January because of faulty wiring that had to be replaced.  

Cheniere is “resuming the startup process,” Lord said.

Gas nominations to the Sabine Pass terminal jumped 64 percent 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 said. He expects to see volumes to continue to climb, reaching 600,000 dekatherms a day, or the equivalent of 600 million cubic feet.

Tankers Waiting

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 said.

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.

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