Sabine Pass LNG gas intake drops ahead of shutdown

OREANDA-NEWS. September 19, 2016. Gas flow today to the Sabine Pass LNG export terminal in Louisiana was scheduled to total about 555mn cf (15.7mn m?), 53pc less than the average intake of about 1.18 Bcf/d.

That could indicate that Sabine Pass owner Cheniere Energy is preparing to soon start a four-week maintenance shutdown at the facility. Houston-based Cheniere has said the shutdown would begin sometime this month to modify gas flares that have not functioned as intended. The company did not comment today.

Both liquefaction trains that are online at Sabine Pass will be shut, so gas feed to the terminal during the maintenance will be negligible. However, Cheniere could continue to export, as the five LNG storage tanks at the terminal have combined capacity equivalent to about 17 Bcf of gas. A typical LNG cargo is equivalent to about 3-3.5 Bcf of gas, so four or five exports are possible during the shutdown if the tanks are relatively full.

According to an Argus analysis of gas flows to Sabine Pass and exports since they started in late February, the storage tanks now contain a gas equivalent of about 17 Bcf. Not all of that could be exported, as typically an LNG storage tank has to be 5-10pc full and some LNG needs to stay in cryogenic equipment to maintain adequate low temperatures.

Cheniere is building five liquefaction trains at the \\$20bn facility, each with peak capacity of 5mn t/yr, equivalent to about 694mn cf/d (19.6mn m?/d) of gas, and baseload capacity of 4.5mn t/yr. Train 1 exported its first cargo on 24 February and train 2 in August.

Cheniere has said that trains 3 and 4 would come on line six months after the prior respective train. Train 5 is scheduled to start operating in late 2019.