The amount of natural gas flowing to the seven big U.S. liquefied natural gas (LNG) export plants has fallen by around 6% so far in January from a record high in December due mostly to the slow return of feedgas from last week’s Arctic freeze.
Energy analysts also pointed to recent problems at Freeport LNG’s export plant in Texas where two of three liquefaction trains have shut at least three times so far this year.
Freeport Train 2 shut on Jan. 16 and then again on Jan. 22, while Train 3 shut on Jan. 17, according to company filings with Texas environmental regulators.
In addition, the third liquefaction train at U.S. energy company Cheniere Energy’s Corpus Christi LNG export plant in Texas shut on Jan. 22, according to company filings with state regulators.
Officials at Freeport had no comment beyond their filings with state regulators, while officials at Cheniere were not immediately available for comment.
The amount of gas flowing to the U.S. export plants fell to an average of 13.8 billion cubic feet per day (bcfd) so far in January, down from a monthly record of 14.7 bcfd in December, according to data from financial firm LSEG.
On a daily basis, LNG feedgas was on track to climb by around 4.4 bcfd from Jan. 17-24 to a preliminary 13.6 bcfd on Wednesday, which is not enough to replace the 5.8 bcfd feedgas drop from Jan. 13-16 to a one-year low of 9.2 bcfd on Jan. 16 during last week’s Arctic freeze.
Each of the three trains at Freeport can turn about 0.7 bcfd of gas into LNG, while each of the three trains at Corpus can turn about 0.8 bcfd of gas into LNG.
One billion cubic feet of gas is enough to supply about 5 million U.S. homes for a day.
The U.S. became the world’s biggest LNG supplier in 2023, ahead of recent leaders Australia and Qatar, as much higher global prices fed demand for more exports due in part to supply disruptions and sanctions linked to Russia’s war in Ukraine.
U.S. gas at the Henry Hub benchmark in Louisiana was trading around $3 per million British thermal units (mmBtu).
That compares with a near a five-month low of $9 per mmBtu at the Dutch Title Transfer Facility (TTF) benchmark in Europe and a seven-month low of $9 at the Japan Korea Marker (JKM) benchmark in Asia.
(Reporting by Scott DiSavino; Editing by Sharon Singleton)