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Update: 4th LNG train at Sabine Pass enters service after reaching completion

A fourth liquefaction train at Cheniere Energy Inc.'s Sabine Pass LNG export terminal in Louisiana has reached substantial completion, adding another 4.5 million tonnes per year of LNG production capacity to the only operational LNG export project in the Lower 48. The developer told federal regulators that it has placed train 4 in service.

Cheniere affiliate Cheniere Energy Partners LP said in an Oct. 13 news release that it has received care, custody and control of train 4 from the project's engineering, procurement and construction contractor Bechtel and that it expects commercial deliveries to start in March 2018.

Most of those commercial deliveries are headed toward fulfilling a 20-year contract with GAIL (India) Ltd for 3.5 million tonnes per annum from train 4. The state-owned Indian gas company has reportedly sought to renegotiate the terms of the 2011 sales and purchase agreement with Sabine Pass, but Cheniere CEO Jack Fusco has maintained that the U.S. LNG export pioneer expects its customers to uphold their commitments.

Train 4 produced its first LNG in July, and was authorized on Oct. 5 to begin service by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. The unit joins three trains already operating at the terminal. Train 5 is expected to be complete in August 2019, and train 6 is fully permitted but does not have a final investment decision. (FERC dockets CP11-72, CP13-2)

Cheniere is also developing the Corpus Christi LNG export terminal in Texas. Two liquefaction trains are under construction and set to come online in 2019. A third has all major regulatory permits in hand but is awaiting a decision from Cheniere as buyers express hesitance in signing new 20-year deals. Cheniere recently changed its plans for an expansion project at the Texas terminal, swapping out two 4.5-mtpa trains for seven "modular" units that executives have said could help it roll out additional capacity more quickly.