On June 8, LNG was released from Freeport LNG Development’s liquefaction plant on Quintana Island, Texas, leading to the formation and ignition of a natural gas vapour cloud and subsequent fire.
The company, an LNG export company headquartered in Houston, Texas, entered into a consent agreement with the Pipeline Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) that set out corrective measures to be met before the resumption of production from the facility.
On November 18, Freeport said in a statement that the reconstruction work necessary to commence initial operations is expected to be completed by the end of November. It indicated that proposed remedial work activities for a safe restart of initial operations have been submitted to the relevant regulatory agencies for review and approval. Subject to Freeport LNG meeting its regulatory requirements, it is targeting initial production at the facility in mid-December and full production in March.
In an article on Monday, however, Reuters said that “a source familiar with the company’s filings … has not yet submitted a full request to the US Department of Transportation’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) to restart” the plant. It said, “the lack of a full request has raised questions about the company’s ability to meet its latest restart timeline.” The review and approval process is likely to take longer than the two weeks Freeport has estimated and potentially significantly longer if the inspection identifies outstanding issues.
On November 15, a consultant’s report on the incident was issued. It blamed inadequate operating and testing procedures, human error and fatigue for the explosion.