Denver — Sempra Energy's Cameron LNG export facility in Louisiana received a battery of regulatory approvals Friday for commissioning-related procedures at its second liquefaction train, moving the unit closer to commercial startup by early next year.
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In a Federal Energy Regulatory Commission filing, regulators gave Cameron the go-ahead on a variance request for commissioning procedures at Train 2, along with an authorization to introduce hazardous fluids and commission the unit's ISBL Hot Oil System and PR Gas Turbine.
Similar commissioning-related authorizations from FERC at Cameron's Train 1 - issued from mid-December 2018 to early January 2019 were followed by a late-March startup to initial gas deliveries.
Train 1 shipped its first cargo on May 31 and received regulatory approval to begin commercial service in late July.
The startup timeline at Train 1 suggests that its second unit could begin receiving initial gas deliveries by late December or early January, followed by the export of a first cargo in March.
A recent forecast published by S&P Global Platts Analytics shows Cameron train 2 and 3 reaching commercial service by March 2020 and August 2020, respectively.
Growing liquefaction capacity at the US' six operational LNG exports facilities - Sabine Pass, Cove Point, Corpus Christi, Cameron, Elba Island and Freeport - has continued to lift US feedgas demand to record highs.
On October 14, feedgas nominations at US export terminals climbed to their highest on record at 7 Bcf/d. On Friday, early estimates pointed to another record high at 7.2 Bcf/d, although that figure could be subject to downward revision in later, intraday nomination cycles.
In October, US feedgas demand has averaged its highest on record at more than 6.3 Bcf/d. Last month, the US also exported its largest monthly volume of LNG on record, totaling over 153 Bcf.
By December, Platts Analytics expects US LNG feedgas demand to surpass 7.6 Bcf/d, a recent forecast shows.
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