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In-service dates at Freeport LNG unchanged: FERC

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The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission on Thursday corrected its previously published construction inspection report for Freeport LNG, revising its anticipated startup date for Train 1 to September 2019, Train 2 to January 2020 and Train 3 to May 2020.

Following a late-May inspection of the facility, the regulator had issued a June 12 construction report that it later said erroneously identified later startup dates at Trains 2 and 3.

On May 23, the lead construction contractor at Freeport LNG, McDermott International, had reaffirmed its schedule for the startup of Train 3 by the first quarter of next year.

The statement from McDermott only referenced Train 3 by name, but did refer back to construction scheduling comments made by company executives during a first-quarter earnings call in late April.

At the time, McDermott CFO Stuart Spence said that initial production from Train 1 was expected by the third quarter of this year followed by a startup at Train 2 in the fourth quarter and Train 3 in Q1 2020.

IMPACT

Each of the three trains at Freeport has a nameplate liquefaction capacity of 600 MMcf/d, meaning that the fully operational export facility could consume upwards of 1.9 Bcf/d at full tilt.

Over a 10-day period in late May, Freeport LNG began receiving initial gas deliveries, which peaked at just 80 MMcf/d, before falling to zero. No gas has been delivered to the facility over the past 19 days, according to data from S&P Global Platts Analytics.

With a startup of commercial operation at Train 1 expected by August or September, larger feedgas volumes to Freeport could begin within the next several weeks.

CONSTRUCTION DELAYS

At a KPMG energy conference in Houston last week, Freeport's Lance Goodwin, vice president of business development, said Freeport could ship its first commissioning cargo by August.

In recent months, the scheduled timing for startup of Train 1 has been pushed back from an April-May timeframe, prompted by construction delays at the Texas facility.

During the company's first-quarter earnings call, executives at McDermott acknowledged several construction- and weather-related delays to its contracting work at Freeport LNG in Texas and Cameron LNG in Louisiana, saying that the company and its partners have made strides in getting the two US projects back on track.

(This story has been revised to reflect corrected timing of Freeport LNG in-service dates.)

-- J. Robinson, jrobinson@spglobal.com

-- Ross Wyeno, rwyeno@spglobal.com

-- Harry Weber, Harry.Weber@spglobal.com

-- Edited by Richard Rubin, newsdesk@spglobal.com