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Sabine Pass LNG loadings may resume soon

07 Sep 2017 17:06 (+01:00 GMT)
Sabine Pass LNG loadings may resume soon

Houston, 7 September (Argus) — Ships at the US Gulf coast Sabine Pass LNG export terminal will likely return to loading on a normal schedule soon, the Sabine Pilots Association told Argus today.

Hurricane Harvey temporarily made loadings impossible because torrential rainfall led to strong currents along the Sabine river. The terminal is located on the Louisiana side of the river, along the border with Texas.

Gas intake at Sabine Pass is ramping up, with the facility scheduled to receive 1.15 Bcf (32.5mn m³) of gas today, more than double than the average intake of 402mn cf/d on 1-6 September, according to gas pipeline nominations.

Sabine Pass yesterday loaded its first cargo since 24 August, on the Rioja Knutsten, which has capacity of 173,000m³, equivalent to about 3.6 Bcf of gas.

The Sabine Pilots Association did not know when the next loading would occur, but said river levels are approaching normal and a normal loading schedule likely will resume soon. Pilots from the association control LNG ships as they approach or exit the terminal.

Sabine Pass owner Cheniere Energy has declined to comment.

Sabine Pass has five LNG storage tanks with combined capacity equivalent to 17 Bcf of gas, and the apparent inability to load ships immediately after Harvey ravaged the area could have caused the tanks to be full, or nearly full.

Harvey made landfall on 25 August in Rockport, Texas, about 300 miles (482km) southwest of Sabine Pass, and lingered along the Texas-Louisiana coast until 30 August.

Gas intake at Sabine Pass before Harvey often topped 2.1 Bcf/d, enough to operate three liquefaction trains at peak capacity. Four trains have been placed in service at the facility, but train 3 was taken off line in late July for maintenance. Intake likely will be about 2.8 Bcf/d when the four trains are operating.

Each train produces about one standard-sized cargo a week.