Let Me Move You - New Liquefaction Trains, Pipeline Capacity Revving Up Gulf Coast Feedgas Demand

Feedgas demand at U.S. LNG export terminals has climbed 1.3 Bcf/d, or ~40%, in just three months to an average 4.4 Bcf/d in December to date and hit an all-time single-day high of over 4.6 Bcf/d last Tuesday. The big jump in demand came as U.S. Gulf Coast LNG operators have begun commissioning three new liquefaction trains, including the initial trains at two new export terminals. At the same time, pipeline expansions targeting both existing and newly active terminals have been completed to meet that demand. How are the new trains being supplied and what’s the effect on gas flows? Today’s blog takes a closer look at recent changes in liquefaction and feedgas delivery capacity and their effect on feedgas flows, starting with Cheniere Energy’s Sabine Pass Liquefaction.

U.S. Gulf Coast LNG exports are a fast-changing landscape. After somewhat of a lull in LNG export growth through the first three quarters of 2018, incremental demand for feedgas has revved up this fall. When we last wrote about LNG export operations in Smooth Operator in late September (2018), feedgas receipts totaled an average of about 3.1 Bcf/d. More than 80%, or ~2.6 Bcf/d, of that was going to Cheniere’s Sabine Pass Liquefaction (SPL) in Cameron Parish, LA, according to our LNG Voyager Weekly report, which closely tracks active and upcoming terminal operations including liquefaction capacity, feedgas receipts and exports. The only other export facility in operation at the time — Dominion’s Cove Point terminal in Maryland — was down for maintenance and averaged just 0.4 Bcf/d in September, about half of its capacity.

Since then, SPL has begun taking feedgas for commissioning its Train 5. The facility also now has access to a new feedgas interconnect following the full in-service of Kinder Morgan Louisiana Pipeline’s Sabine Pass Expansion Project last week. In the meantime, two pipeline expansions — Williams/Transco’s Atlantic Sunrise and TransCanada/Columbia Gas Group’s WB Xpress — improved Cove Point’s access to Marcellus/Utica gas. Further, commissioning activities began for the first trains at two brand new facilities — Cheniere’s Corpus Christi Liquefaction began taking feedgas for the commission of its first train, and Cameron LNG has begun commissioning its Train 1, with feedgas flows expected any week now. Next, we look at each of these developments in turn by facility, starting today with SPL.

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