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Cheniere gets approval to bring feed gas into Sabine Pass train 5

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission cleared Cheniere Energy Inc. subsidiaries to introduce feed gas into the fifth liquefaction train at its Sabine Pass LNG export terminal, a step toward producing LNG from the train by the end of the year.

Sabine Pass Liquefaction LLC and affiliates submitted the request Aug. 27 to FERC. They sought permission to introduce feed gas and refrigerants as they test the train for an expected commercial service date in 2019. FERC granted the request Sept. 6, meeting the time frame sought by the export developer. (FERC docket CP13-552)

The development followed a separate FERC letter order on Aug. 16 that allowed Cheniere to introduce feed gas to its first Corpus Christi train, a significant threshold for the company's second LNG export terminal. Cheniere has said it also expects Corpus Christi train 1 to begin producing LNG by the end of the year before commercial service starts in 2019. Sabine Pass train 5 and Corpus Christi train 1 will each will have an LNG production capacity of 4.5 million tonnes per annum, or about 0.7 Bcf/d.

Four other LNG trains are in service at Sabine Pass, the first LNG export terminal to be constructed in the Lower 48. The exporter shipped its first cargo of U.S. LNG in February 2016.

Before FERC granted permission to introduce the feed gas at Sabine Pass train 5, analysts at Tudor Pickering Holt & Co. wrote in an Aug. 28 note that a timely grant of the permission should mean Cheniere will see its first LNG cargo shipped from the train sometime in the fourth quarter of 2018.

FERC also recently approved the start of partial service on a new natural gas pipeline feeding the Sabine Pass terminal as train 5 nears completion. The Aug. 31 order cleared a Kinder Morgan Inc. pipeline unit to place in service a lateral and a connection to the Sabine Pass terminal. Kinder Morgan Louisiana Pipeline LLC told FERC it anticipated its Sabine Pass Liquefaction lateral project will be ready to provide full transportation capacity by Dec. 1.