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Tropical Storm Barry impacts Gulf Coast LNG vessel traffic

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Tropical Storm Barry impacts Gulf Coast LNG vessel traffic

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Production continuing at three export facilities

Track being monitored closely ahead of landfall

Houston — Feedgas deliveries to LNG export terminals along the US Gulf Coast continued to fall Thursday ahead of Tropical Storm Barry's expected landfall in Louisiana.

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The latest drop was due entirely to a decline at Cheniere Energy's Sabine Pass terminal in Cameron Parish, S&P Global Platts Analytics data showed.

That came after Sabine Pilots, in coordination with the US Coast Guard, suspended inbound transits along the intracoastal waterway that serves the terminal on Wednesday evening. A pilots dispatcher said Thursday afternoon that pilots services were no longer suspended and they were taking inbound vessels, but that Cheniere was not taking in any vessels to its facility at that time as it continued to monitor port conditions provided by the Coast Guard.

"We will continue to coordinate with the Coast Guard and state and local officials to help ensure the safety of our people, our communities, and our facility," Cheniere spokeswoman Jenna Palfrey said in an email responding to questions. "At this time the facility continues to operate and we do not expect major impacts to Sabine Pass operations from this storm."

Factbox: More oil, gas production halted, one refinery shuts, as US Gulf Coast prepares for Tropical Storm Barry

Officials with the Coast Guard's Vessel Traffic Service in Port Arthur, Texas, just across the state line from the Sabine Pass terminal, said that most parties taking precautions were expected to resume inbound transits once the storm track solidified.

Disruptions to LNG exports from the region are watched closely by the global market, as the US has been the biggest driver of new liquefaction capacity worldwide over the last three years. Tropical storms have generally resulted in short-term impacts, though during Hurricane Harvey in 2017 impacts were more substantial.

Even with the recent adjustments, LNG production appeared to be continuing Thursday at Sabine Pass, Sempra Energy's Cameron LNG facility in Hackberry, Louisiana, and Cheniere's terminal near Corpus Christi, Texas. At Cameron, commissioning activities underway for Train 1 continued and the terminal's production schedule remained on track, a spokeswoman said.

There are eight US Gulf Coast liquefaction trains with total capacity of approximately 4.8 Bcf/d currently in operation at the three terminals located within range of potential impact from Barry's winds and heavy rain.

Inclusive of gas consumed at the liquefaction facilities, total gas deliveries to these facilities has averaged nearly 5.4 Bcf/d this month to date. Total deliveries were down to 4.8 Bcf/d on Thursday as Barry approached, Platts Analytics data showed.

A fourth terminal within the storm's range, Freeport LNG in Texas, has been in commissioning and preparing to start up. Commissioning work was continuing Thursday, spokeswoman Heather Browne said. The operator planned to monitor the storm to determine if any actions were warranted, she said.

-- Harry Weber and Emmanuel Corral, newsdesk@spglobal.com

-- Edited by Gail Roberts, newsdesk@spglobal.com