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US gas compressor projects that would serve LNG exports can begin construction

Highlights

KMLP, Columbia Gulf expansions eyed for 2022

Both would feed Cheniere's Sabine Pass Train 6

New York — Kinder Morgan and Canada's TC Energy have gotten the go-ahead to begin construction of two US midstream expansion projects that would supply feedgas to Cheniere Energy's sixth liquefaction train at its Sabine Pass terminal in Louisiana.

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The approvals come as US LNG exporters ramp up activity amid a surge in prices in key end-user markets.

Substantial completion of the new train is expected during the second half of 2022, according to Cheniere's latest estimate in August. The company, which also operates a second LNG export terminal near Corpus Christi, Texas, is expected to provide an update on Sabine Pass Train 6 construction when it releases its third-quarter financial results Nov. 6.

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Kinder Morgan Louisiana Pipeline's expansion project would add about 894 MMcf/d of capacity on the existing Acadiana system. The Kinder Morgan subsidiary applied for a Natural Gas Act certificate in June 2019 for three new gas-fired compressor units at its compressor station 760.

Upstream from Acadiana, TC Energy's Columbia Gulf Transmission would create 493 MMcf/d of incremental mainline gas transportation capacity through the Louisiana XPress natural gas transportation project, which would entail building three greenfield compressor stations and modifying its Alexandria compressor station. Combined with the use of existing capacity, the project would allow firm transportation service of about 850 MMcf/d on a north-to-south path from Columbia Gulf's Mainline pool to a primary delivery point at an interconnection with Kinder Morgan Louisiana Pipeline in Evangeline Parish.

On Oct. 20, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission granted approval for the operators of both compressor projects to begin construction.

KMLP's project is expected to be placed into commercial service as early as the first quarter of 2022, Kinder Morgan said Oct. 21 when it released its latest financial results. That timing would allow Cheniere to keep to its latest completion schedule for Sabine Pass Train 6.

In its certificate application for Louisiana XPress, Columbia Gulf estimated that service would begin by Feb. 1, 2022. That, too, would be in line with Cheniere's latest timing for Train 6. A TC Energy spokesperson did not immediately respond to a request Oct. 23 for an update.

Both pipeline expansion projects (CP19-484, CP19-488) would mainly supply Sabine Pass. There are five trains currently online at Sabine Pass.

Utilization at US liquefaction terminals is currently near pre-pandemic highs as Asian prices have seen a more than threefold jump since historic lows in April.