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Shutdown of two Sabine Pass storage tanks not impacting production: Cheniere

Cheniere Energy's LNG output will not be affected by the shutdown of two of five storage units at its Sabine Pass, Louisiana, liquefaction facility following a leak last month, a company spokesman said Monday.

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The US Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Administration ussued an order on February 8 to shut two storage units after workers at end-January discovered one of them leaked LNG into a surrounding containment area of the tank. The leak resulted in cracks of between one-six feet in the outer wall of the tank, according to the corrective action report by PHMSA.

A second tank was later discovered to have experienced leakage issues in the past, raising the possibility that multiple tanks could face similar problems, PHMSA said.

The shutdown of the two storage units will not affect LNG production at Sabine Pass, Eben Burnham-Snyder, a Cheniere spokesman, said in an emailed response to S&P Global Platts.

"We have five tanks, so our robust storage capacity gives us flexibility," Burnham-Snyder said.

Cheniere needs to submit a timeline and plan by February 15 to remove the two affected tanks from service, according to the PHMSA.

Sabine Pass faced unscheduled maintenance late last month due to a feed-gas pipeline issue, as well as an interruption in water supply that slowed liquefaction processes.

Cheniere became the first US exporter of shale gas-sourced LNG when Sabine Pass started operations in 2016. Four 4.5-million mt/year trains are in operation there, while a fifth is under construction.

Two trains are currently under construction at Cheniere's Corpus Christi, Texas, LNG liquefaction facility.

--Kenneth Foo,

--Edited by Richard Rubin,