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Freeport LNG aims for November restart at fire-hit Texas plant

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HOUSTON, Aug 23 (Reuters) – U.S. liquefied natural gas (LNG) producer Freeport LNG aims to return 85% of production from its fire-hit Texas plant by late November and achieve full operation by March, the company said on Tuesday.

The second-largest U.S. exporter of LNG halted operations in June after an explosion and fire that helped send global gas prices skyrocketing.

A U.S. regulator blamed an overpressurized pipeline for the blast, which sent a fireball over the Quintana, Texas, facility. read more

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Initial production could start in early November, the company said, adding a further delay to a restart originally set for October. Early production will use an available second loading dock at the facility, with full production requiring two docks to be operational, it said.

The plant can process up to 2.1 billion cubic feet of natural gas per day (bcfd), and at full capacity can export 15 million tonnes per annum (MTPA) of the liquid gas. The shutdown has contributed to global shortfall and helped spur financial approvals for several new LNG projects.

U.S. natural gas futures on Tuesday slumped as much as 5% to a session low of $9.05 per million British thermal units (mmBtu) before retracing some of the loss.

Earlier, U.S. gas futures topped $10 per mmBtu. European gas prices on Tuesday traded at 268.50 euros per megawatt hour, up from 90.43 in mid-June as Russian reduce gas supplies to the continent.

Three weeks ago, Freeport reached a consent agreement with U.S. regulator Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration that gave the company measures to take to restore partial operations. read more

Freeport LNG on Tuesday warned that its goal of resuming production could face construction delays. Engineering and construction firm Kiewit Energy Group Inc. has been hired to restore operations, Freeport LNG said in a statement.

Reporting by Gary McWilliams in Houston, Texas, Ruhi Soni and Shariq Khan in Bengaluru; Editing by Shailesh Kuber and Josie Kao

Source - Freeport LNG aims for November restart at fire-hit Texas plant

(c) Thompson Reuters