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Cameron LNG facility on US Gulf Coast could be offline through October: Sempra


CEO timeline bearish sign for feedgas balances

Power restoration a challenge since hurricane

  • Author
  • Harry Weber    Kevin Sakofs
  • Editor
  • Keiron Greenhalgh
  • Commodity
  • LNG Natural Gas
  • Topic
  • LNG Commoditization

Houston — Cameron LNG may be offline through October, amid continued challenges in restoring power to the Louisiana terminal following Hurricane Laura, Jeffrey Martin, CEO of operator and majority owner Sempra Energy, said Sept. 17.

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The facility in Hackberry, south of Lake Charles, relies on power purchased from Entergy, and widespread outages in the area have continued since the Category 4 storm came ashore on the US Gulf Coast on Aug. 27. Cheniere Energy's Sabine Pass terminal, in a different part of Cameron Parish, produces its power at the site, helping it get back up and running more quickly. It resumed production Sept. 9.

Entergy said recently that power could be restored to the remaining customers impacted by Laura in southwest Louisiana by Sept. 30. That, however, depends on the ability of customers to safely receive electricity. Sempra has not said whether the liquefaction terminal's on-site connections were damaged by the hurricane, or if there was other damage that could take longer to repair before full production can resume. The three trains have been offline since the day before the storm hit.

"We expect to have it in operation in the next six weeks," Martin said during an energy summit sponsored by the US Department of Energy that was broadcast on the Internet.

Should Cameron LNG be offline for all of October, over 1 Bcf/d of expected feedgas demand would be taken out of balances in October. This would be a bearish sign as storage within the region is elevated. With that said, the day-over-day decline in NYMEX October natural gas futures could increase October power burn by 0.5 to 1 Bcf/d as coal-to-gas switching picks up, S&P Global Platts Analytics data show.

"We took a big hit from the hurricane," Martin said.

Overall, Martin said, the terminal "weathered it pretty well."

Total US LNG feedgas demand has rebounded in recent weeks amid improving market fundamentals. Gas deliveries to the five other major US liquefaction terminals besides Cameron LNG totaled 7.4 Bcf/d on Sept. 17, up more than 200 MMcf/d from the day before, Platts Analytics data show. Prior to the recent ramp-up, the last time flows were above 7 Bcf/d was in May, when the worst of the market impacts from the coronavirus pandemic had not yet taken hold.