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Total feedgas tops 7 Bcf/d as powerful Hurricane Sally approaches US Gulf Coast

Highlights

Storm not likely to hit LNG infrastructure amid eastward track

Cameron LNG remains offline from previous hurricane

Houston — Feedgas deliveries to major US liquefaction terminals topped 7 Bcf/d over the most recent weekend, for the first time since May, and stayed above that threshold Sept. 14, even as Sempra Energy's Cameron LNG in Louisiana remained offline and another hurricane neared the US Gulf Coast.

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Despite mixed fundamentals globally, US LNG netbacks have broadly widened over the previous week as the US Henry Hub prompt month contract fell to a month-to-date low of $2.27 cents/MMBtu Sept 11 before nudging upward to $2.32 on Sept 14.

Higher utilization at major liquefaction terminals, with the exception of Cameron LNG, was likely to continue in the near-term as Sally's latest track called for the storm to come ashore well east of the four Gulf Coast facilities as possibly a Category 2 hurricane. Cameron LNG shut down ahead of Hurricane Laura's landfall Aug. 27 and has remained offline because it is without power due to significant damage to transmission lines operated by utility Entergy.

Two LNG tankers were loading at Cheniere Energy's Sabine Pass liquefaction terminal Sept 14, while two unladen tankers were positioned in the Gulf south of the Louisiana-Texas coast, Platts' vessel-tracking software cFlow showed. One tanker was anchored off the coast from Freeport LNG in Texas and a second one was on its way there, while a tanker was loading at Cheniere's Corpus Christi terminal in Texas.

Cameron LNG relies on power purchased from Entergy, and widespread outages in the area have continued. Some 47,472 Entergy customers in Cameron and Calcasieu parishes in Louisiana, including the Cameron facility in Hackberry, south of Lake Charles, remained without power Sept. 14. Sabine Pass, in a different part of Cameron Parish, produces its power on-site, helping it get back up and running more quickly. It resumed production Sept. 9.

Transmission lines in southwest Louisiana were so severely damaged by Laura that much of the power infrastructure in the area will have to be repaired or rebuilt. That will take an extended period, according to Entergy.

The utility expects it may be late September before power is available to most of the affected customers.

"Due to the complexity of the restoration effort, restoring power may take longer for some customers in the region," Entergy said in an update Sept. 14.

The latest timing depends on whether customers can safely receive power.

"Although the power grid in southwest Louisiana will lack the redundancies that are in place when the transmission system is in full operation, Entergy Louisiana's engineering and operations teams are developing a plan to maintain the stability of the system," the utility said.

Sempra has not said whether its electricity connections on site at Cameron LNG were damaged which, if so, could possibly extend its outage even when the utility's transmission system is working normally again.

Recovery outlook

The operator said in a statement Sept. 4 that Laura's impact on the surrounding community and the local resources Cameron LNG depends upon has been significant. It said at the time it was working with Entergy and Lake Charles Pilots on restoration timelines and was helping the community as it begins "the long path to recovery."

Since then, the operator has said very little about its restart plans. A spokeswoman declined to provide an update Sept. 14.

With Sally approaching eastern Louisiana and Mississippi and forecast to make landfall Sept. 15, the impact of another major storm could stretch Entergy's resources further.

According to Entergy, further bad whether could extend its restoration efforts from the previous hurricane.