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Texas LNG changes design of storage tanks, citing safety

The developer of the proposed 4-million-tonnes-per-annum Texas LNG project is changing the design of its LNG storage tanks to satisfy requests from federal safety regulators.

In a Feb. 13 filing with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, Texas LNG Brownsville LLC said it would now develop two roughly 7.4-MMcf LNG storage tanks to be full containment, instead of the previous single-containment design. A first phase of the Texas LNG plant has an expected LNG production of 2 mtpa at a target in-service date in 2023. A possible second phase could add another 2 mtpa around 2025. One storage tank would go with each phase.

The alteration comes days after the U.S. Department of Transportation's Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration ordered Cheniere Energy Inc.'s Sabine Pass to remove from service two 3.4-Bcfe single-containment LNG storage tanks following the discovery of an LNG leak from one and a vapor leak from the other. Texas LNG had already been in communication with PHMSA about the possible design change for its LNG storage tanks.

Texas LNG COO Langtry Meyer said the company had nothing to add beyond its FERC filing. In the document, Texas LNG told FERC, "The change from single containment LNG storage tanks to full containment LNG storage tanks reduces the thermal radiation resulting from a pool fire in the unlikely event that the 9% nickel steel primary container fails." (FERC docket CP16-116)

In the switch to full containment, both tanks will be surrounded with a reinforced outer tank. The inner and outer tanks are designed to be capable of independently containing the LNG stored in the unit.

Venture Global Calcasieu Pass LLC has also altered its storage tank design in response to PHMSA concerns. The developer in September 2017 told FERC that it would return to a full-containment design that had been part of earlier versions of its project proposal before it briefly switched to a single-containment tank.