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Cove Point terminal drives increase in gas flows to US LNG export facilities

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Cove Point terminal drives increase in gas flows to US LNG export facilities

Dominion Energy Inc.'s Cove Point LNG export terminal contributed to a rising swell of natural gas flows into U.S. export facilities when it became the second major terminal in operation in the Lower 48 in April, a month that set an all-time record as it topped 3.5 Bcf/d in monthly average gas deliveries to the facilities.

By August, flows settled into a more modest volume, S&P Global Market Intelligence pipeline flow data showed. With gas moving to both the Cove Point facility and Cheniere Energy Inc.'s larger Sabine Pass LNG export terminal, in operation since early 2016, total gas flows into the liquefaction plants averaged about 3.3 Bcf/d in August. Cove Point brought the total U.S. LNG export capacity to roughly 3.6 Bcf/d when it began commercial service April 10.

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The combined total monthly scheduled capacity for pipelines feeding the two terminals reached nearly 102.6 Bcf in August. Deliveries from the Dominion Energy Cove Point LNG LP pipeline to the Cove Point terminal in Maryland totaled nearly 19.3 Bcf in August. There was a slight decrease in total gas flows for the month to Sabine Pass in Louisiana, down to 83.3 Bcf from 84.9 Bcf in July. Sabine Pass has four trains online, each of which has a capacity of 4.5 million tonnes per annum, or about 0.7 Bcf/d. The single Cove Point train is capable of producing 5.25 mtpa, or roughly 0.8 Bcf/d.

Daily deliveries in August surpassed the record monthly average of April several times, reaching a high of nearly 3.7 Bcf on Aug. 11.

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Flows on the Cove Point pipeline into the terminal increased by more than 11.6% from July to August. Flows on the three operating lines into Sabine Pass saw a slight decrease during the same period. Flows on Cheniere Creole Trail Pipeline LP decreased by nearly 2.7%. Deliveries on the Natural Gas Pipeline Co. of America LLC and Transcontinental Gas Pipe Line Co. LLC lines nudged lower by about 0.5% and 1.7%, respectively.

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On Aug. 16, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission approved a request from a Cheniere subsidiary to start pushing feed gas into Corpus Christi train 1 as it tests the facility. Other Cheniere subsidiaries made a similar request Aug. 27 for Sabine Pass train 5, seeking permission by Sept. 6. Gas flows into U.S. LNG terminals stand to increase in the remaining months of 2018. Cheniere has said it expects a fifth train at Sabine Pass and the first train at its Corpus Christi terminal to begin producing LNG by the end of the year before starting commercial service in 2019. Each of those trains will have an LNG production capacity of 4.5 mtpa.

A Kinder Morgan Inc. pipeline unit received approval Aug. 31 from FERC to start partial service on a fourth natural gas line to Sabine Pass, as train 5 nears completion. Kinder Morgan Louisiana Pipeline LLC told the regulator it anticipated its Sabine Pass Liquefaction lateral project will be ready to provide full transportation capacity by Dec. 1.

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To view operational statistics on interstate natural gas pipelines, go to SNL Energy's Pipeline Summary Page. To view natural gas operational flow data for receipt or delivery points, go to SNL Energy's Operational Capacity by Point Page. To view more details about the Sabine Pass Liquefaction Project, go to its SNL Energy Natural Gas Development Project Page.