The Texas project, situated at Quintana Island some 67 miles south of Houston and led by US energy entrepreneur Michael Smith, is constructing three liquefaction Trains and has filed for FERC approval to build a fourth Train.
The first Train should have begun exports in 2018. However, there were a number of delays, including on the engineering schedule that led to compensation being agreed from the main builders, CB&I of the US and Chiyoda Corp. of Japan. McDermott subsequently completed the takeover of CB&I in May 2018.
There were also delays to the Freeport venture from flooding at a site where equipment was stored during Hurricane Harvey that hit the Houston area in August 2017.
Once the Texas plant starts up its feed-gas requirements will be the equivalent of around 2.2 billion cubic feet per day of natural gas.The liquefaction technology being used at Freeport is the Air Products propane-pre-cooled mixed-refrigerant process.
As for LNG offtake, about 13.4 mtpa has been contracted under use-or-pay tolling agreements with a group of mostly customers, including BP, Osaka Gas, Jera Energy, Toshiba and SK E&S LNG. Freeport LNG Marketing announced an additional sales deal in June 2018 with Trafigura’s Singapore-based trading arm for 500,000 tonnes per annum of cargoes.
The FERC approval for Freeport Train-1 comes as Cheniere’s Corpus Christi plant in Texas is expected to export its first commissioning cargo by the end of 2018. Additional US capacity into 2019 will also come from the Elba Island plant in Georgia, Cameron LNG in Louisiana as well as the fifth Train at Cheniere’s Sabine Pass.