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Transco starts flowing gas to Sabine Pass LNG

24 Jan 2017, 6.50 pm GMT

Transco starts flowing gas to Sabine Pass LNG

Houston, 24 January (Argus) — The Transcontinental (Transco) interstate pipeline has started sending gas to the Sabine Pass LNG export terminal, making it the third pipeline to directly send gas to the Louisiana facility.

Transco flowed 625mn cf (17.7mn m³) to Sabine Pass yesterday, the first time it sent gas to the terminal through the recently completed $278mn Gulf Trace Expansion Project, according to nominations posted by Transco owner Williams. Transco is scheduled to send 591mn cf of gas to Sabine Pass today.

Sabine Pass has become one of the largest single gas consumers in the US since it came on line early last year. Gas intake at the facility in the week ended today averaged 2.1 Bcf/d, indicating that the first three liquefaction trains are operating at peak capacity. Sabine Pass owner Cheniere Energy is completing testing of train 3, which likely will export its first cargo this month or in March. Train 1 came on line in February 2016 and train 2 in August.

Sabine Pass previously only directly received gas from the Creole Trail and Natural Gas pipeline (NGPL) systems, which are connected to a number of other major pipelines, including Transco.

Transco had been flowing significant volumes into Creole Trail, but Transco's deliveries dropped to zero yesterday and today as it instead sent gas directly to the terminal. In the week that ended 22 January, Transco sent an average of 556mn cf/d to Creole Trail, which terminates at Sabine Pass.

Flows from Creole Trail to Sabine Pass averaged 680mn cf/d today and yesterday, after averaging 1.3 Bcf in the week ended 22 January. Flows from NGPL into Sabine Pass averaged 745mn cf/d in the week ended today.

Cheniere is building five liquefaction trains at the $20bn Sabine Pass terminal, each with peak capacity of 5mn t/yr, equivalent to about 694mn cf/d of gas, and baseload capacity of 4.5mn t/yr. Cheniere will need about 3.75 Bcf/d of gas for the five trains and would need 4.5 Bcf/d for a proposed train 6 expansion. The Kinder Morgan Louisiana pipeline is also scheduled to connect to Sabine Pass.

Train 4 is scheduled to come on line several months after train 3 and train 5 likely will start operating in 2019.

The Gulf Trace Expansion added 1.16 Bcf/d of firm southwesterly transportation service to Sabine Pass through a new seven-mile (11km) lateral from the Transco mainline, but current available capacity is higher, at 1.45 Bcf/d.

The new bidirectional service starts at Transco's station 65 zone 3 pool in St Helena parish, Louisiana. It extends southward along the Transco mainline and the Southwest Louisiana lateral, and then through the 36-inch (91cm) new lateral connecting with the terminal along the Texas border.

The addition of bidirectional capacity at Transco and other major interstate pipelines will allow Sabine Pass and other US Gulf coast LNG export terminals to access significant gas volumes from the prolific Marcellus shale field centered in Pennsylvania.

Creole Trail can flow up to 1.64 Bcf/d to Sabine Pass. NGPL has the same designed capacity to the terminal, but the current operating capacity is 778mn cf/d.

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