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US LNG feedgas deliveries reach highest level since April despite Cameron outage

Highlights

LNG netbacks from Dutch TTF widen to near ytd highs

Freeport LNG, Corpus Christi Liquefaction see ramp-up

Houston — Gas deliveries to US liquefaction terminals rose Sept.18 to the highest level since April as operators ramped up activity amid the possibility that Sempra Energy's Cameron LNG in Louisiana could be offline through October, S&P Global Platts Analytics data show. The opportunistic activity continues an upward trend in terminal utilization following a steep downturn over the height of the summer when market impacts from the coronavirus pandemic were most strongly felt.

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With the US Henry Hub October contract now trading in the low-$2/MMBtu neighborhood, and European gas prices finding support on the extended Cameron outage, LNG netbacks from the Dutch TTF have widened to near year-to-date highs. That could encourage incremental spot LNG loadings in October.

Gas deliveries to the five other major US liquefaction terminals besides Cameron LNG totaled 8.04 Bcf/d on Sept. 18, up approximately 270 MMcf/d from Sept. 17. That's the highest level since April 25, Platts Analtics data show, on the back of a surge in flows to Freeport LNG south of Houston and Cheniere Energy's Corpus Christi Liquefaction facility, also in Texas.

US feedgas demand bottomed out at 2.3 Bcf/d on Aug 26, the day Cameron LNG shut down ahead of Hurricane Laura's landfall.

The facility in Hackberry, south of Lake Charles, relies on power purchased from Entergy, and widespread outages in the area have continued since the Category 4 storm came ashore on the US Gulf Coast on Aug. 27. Cheniere's Sabine Pass terminal, in a different part of Cameron Parish, produces its power at the site, helping it get back up and running more quickly. It resumed production Sept. 9.

While Entergy has said it expects to have power restored to its remaining impacted customers in southwest Louisiana by Sept. 30, Sempra's chief executive officer said Sept. 17 that the Cameron LNG operator expects the terminal to be back in full operation in the next six weeks. That means it could be the end of October before Cameron LNG is back online.

Entergy's timeline for power restoration depends on the ability of customers to safely receive electricity. Sempra has not said whether the liquefaction terminal's on-site connections were damaged by the hurricane, or if there was other damage that could take longer to repair before full production can resume.