Natural Gas Flows to Freeport LNG in Texas Reach Two-Month High

(Reuters) — The amount of natural gas flowing to Freeport LNG's export plant in Texas rose to a two-month high on Sunday in what energy traders said was another sign that the plant was wrapping up a series of outages over the past month or so.

The startup and shutdown of Freeport and other U.S. liquefied natural gas (LNG) export plants often has a major impact on global gas prices.

U.S. gas futures at the Henry Hub benchmark NGc1 in Louisiana have soared by around 33% over the past seven days due in part to the increase in demand for fuel from Freeport after it exited an outage early last week.

U.S. gas futures were trading at a 14-week high of $2.19 per million British thermal units (MMBtu) on Monday.

Total feedgas to all seven big U.S. LNG export plants rose from an average of 11.9 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d) in April to 12.4 Bcf/d so far in May with the return of Freeport, according to data from financial firm LSEG. That compares with a monthly record of 14.7 Bcf/d in December.

The amount of gas flowing to the 2.1-Bcf/d Freeport hit a two-month high of 1.4 Bcf/d on Sunday, up from 1.2 Bcf/d on Saturday and an average of just 0.4 Bcf/d during the month of April. There were almost no gas flows to the plant from April 24-27.

Energy traders said they believe at least two trains at the plant were operating due to the amount of feedgas currently flowing to the plant.

Officials at Freeport were not immediately available to comment on the latest increase in feedgas.

Each Freeport train can turn about 0.7 Bcf/d of gas into LNG.

One billion cubic feet is enough gas to supply about 5 million U.S. homes for a day.

In late March, Freeport said it expected two of the three liquefaction trains at the plant, Trains 1 and 2, to remain shut until May for inspections and repairs, while Train 3 was operating. Train 3 shut around April 11.

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