The Freeport LNG plant on Quintana Island in Texas was unable to produce LNG on September 14 as all three liquefaction trains were knocked off stream by power issues caused by tropical storm Nicholas, which hit the Gulf Coast..
The Freeport plant is located in Brazoria County, south of Houston, and widespread power outages were reported in the county.
“Nicholas moved slowly across the Houston metropolitan area,” said the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Hurricane Center.
“Life-threatening flash floods are expected across portions of the Deep South during the next couple of days,” added the statement.
The storm made landfall along the coast west of Quintana where Freeport LNG is sited.
A statement from Freeport said the situation was continuing to be assessed and no other damage was reported at the plant,
The Freeport facility is the only one in the US that uses exclusively electric motors instead of natural gas turbines to drive the liquefaction compressors.
In addition to the three Trains currently constructed, it has proposed adding a fourth, though it has yet to sanction the investment until commercial support is finalized.
Hours before the storm hit, the Freeport facility was operating normally and continuing to produce LNG.
Before the current temporary outage, Freeport had just returned one liquefaction Train to service in the first week of September after a brief spell of maintenance.
Analysts note that high demand for US LNG from nations like China, Japan and South Korea as well as Brazil in South America has meant very high utilization rates at all six US liquefaction terminals.
The Freeport operating company, whose Chief Executive is the energy entrepreneur Michael Smith, produces around 15 million tonnes per annum of LNG.
It has use-or-pay liquefaction tolling agreements for most of the output from the three Trains with customers including European and Japanese contract holders, BP of the UK, Germany’s Uniper and Japan’s Jera Co. Inc. and Osaka Gas.