A leading Texas politician said he believed that the Biden Administration and the US Federal Energy Regulatory Commission had stalled the restart of the Freeport LNG export plant after the June 2022 fire to keep winter domestic natural gas prices low in Texas and the Gulf Coast.
Brooks Landgraf, who is a lawyer and a Republican representative in the Texas state legislature for the West Texas city of Odessa, said the most recent Henry Hub price was $3.25 per million British thermal units, less than a third of the $9.85/MMBtu price last August 22 and “there was no other conclusion” to be drawn.
Landgraf said that Freeport LNG had been ready to resume full operations last mid-November after the fire on June 8 as all the damage had been repaired in early Fall.
He noted that just as full operations were about to kick off, the FERC came up with a list of additional demands that kept Freeport LNG shuttered till the initial start-up was begun on January 14, 2023.
A full resumption isn't expected at the Quintana Island plant until March following a ramp-up of production.
“I am looking at the actions that have been taken and the picture that has been painted and it's reasonable to assume that this is the case,” said Landgraf.
He is also Chairman of the Texas House Environmental Regulation Committee, and added that he had been disappointed but not surprised to see FERC behave in such a “blatantly political” manner.
“I've seen it time and time again, the federal government doing everything it can to curtail the exploitation of our natural resources,” he said.
“So this is another front in the Biden Administration's war against fossil fuels,” added Landgraf.
“One thing remains clear. LNG is part of the equation to meet the energy needs of the modern world,” he stated.
“The world needs energy from oil and natural gas to function and we must continue to invest in the Permian Basin and continue producing oil and gas,” he said.
"When I was growing up in Odessa, America was dependent on the Middle East and energy independence was a pipedream. Now the Basin is the secret weapon not only for Texas but for the nation,” he added.
He made his statement after the 88th session of the Texas Legislature was convened on January 20.
“It’s the honor of a lifetime to serve as a voice for the Permian Basin in the Texas House of Representatives,” Landgraf said.
“The hardworking men and women who live and work in Ector, Ward, Winkler and Loving counties deserve to have their voices heard in their state government,” he said.
“I’m headed back to the state capitol to continue fighting to defend and expand their rights and liberties,” he declared.
During the next 140 days, the Texas House of Representatives, along with the Texas Senate, will consider legislation including how to allocate the state’s record budget surplus of nearly $30 billion.