Cameron LNG poised to restart cargo loading

  • : Natural gas
  • 20/10/05

The 15mn t/yr Cameron LNG in the US' southwest Louisiana is poised to load its first cargo in eight weeks, following the arrival of the 180,000m³ SK Audace LNG tanker and rising gas flows to the plant.

The vessel is the first LNG tanker to access the Calcasieu waterway and sail to Cameron LNG since it was shut on 26 August ahead of the category 4 Hurricane Laura that hit the southwest Louisiana coast a day later. The SK Audace had been at the Lake Charles anchorage in Louisiana since 23 September and only moved to berth at Cameron LNG yesterday.

The SK Audace is under charter by Total, which has an offtake agreement for 4mn t/yr at Cameron LNG. Total has term supply agreements with Taiwan's state-owned CPC, Japanese trading house Marubeni and utility Tohoku Electric. Japanese trading houses Mitsubishi and Mitsui are also offtakers at the plant, while other Asian term customers include India's state-controlled IOC and Japan's Jera, Kansai Electric, Tokyo Gas and Toho Gas.

Cameron received feedstock gas deliveries on 27 September for the first time since the hurricane made landfall exactly a month earlier. Gas flows to the facility were at 12mn ft³ (340,000 m³) on 27 September, steadily increasing and crossing 100mn ft³ at 163mn ft³ on 1 October before falling to 100mn ft³ a day later, pipeline nominations showed.

Feedstock gas volumes are expected to continue rising in the coming weeks as the plant increases operations. Daily gas flows to the plant averaged 1.3bn ft³ during 1-26 August, according to pipeline nominations.

Term customers had expected that the plant would load its first cargo from its second production train from as early as 8 October, based on guidance from the project. Cameron LNG has not publicly commented on restart dates but did say on 18 September that it had begun the restart process on the first train, without specifying which of the three trains will restart first.

Term customers expect that production will start on the first train next week, followed by the third train around a week later. They expect that the plant will be fully operational by the end of this month, in line with expectations by Cameron operator Sempra Energy chief executive Jeffrey Martin's statement on 17 September that the project would be in full operations six weeks from that date.

Access to the Calcasieu waterway is still restricted to vessels with a draught of below 36 feet (11m). The SK Audace's draught, currently at around 9.5m based on vessel tracking data, allowed it to enter the waterway. But a typical LNG vessel has a draught of around 11.5m when laden, a shipbroker said. Dredging works will have to continue for laden LNG vessels to transit the waterway without restrictions.

Expectations that Cameron will resume exports and add to the pool of November deliveries have weighed on buying ideas and prices.

The ANEA price, the Argus assessment for spot deliveries to northeast Asia, dipped slightly today by 1.5¢/mn Btu and 2.5¢/mn Btu respectively to $5.10/mn Btu for first-half November and $5.19/mn Btu for second-half November, having risen by 18-19¢/mn Btu from a week earlier.

Related news posts

Argus illuminates the markets by putting a lens on the areas that matter most to you. The market news and commentary we publish reveals vital insights that enable you to make stronger, well-informed decisions. Explore a selection of news stories related to this one.

Business intelligence reports

Get concise, trustworthy and unbiased analysis of the latest trends and developments in oil and energy markets. These reports are specially created for decision makers who don’t have time to track markets day-by-day, minute-by-minute.

Learn more