Sabine Pass LNG exporting at record rate
Houston, 14 November (Argus) — The US Gulf coast Sabine Pass LNG export terminal likely will soon load a record fourth cargo within a week, with at least two more vessels scheduled to arrive at the facility on 16 November. The Shell-controlled Methane Julia Louise vessel, which has capacity for 170,000m? of LNG, equivalent to about 3.5 Bcf (99mn m?) of gas, was anchored today off the terminal, located on the Louisiana side of the Texas/Louisiana border. The ship was scheduled to dock today and would likely lift a cargo within two days after that.
The facility exported three cargoes last week as production has ramped up since late October after a one-month maintenance outage. Prior to the outage, Sabine Pass was averaging about two cargo loadings per week from its first two liquefaction trains. The Shell-controlled 136,600m? Galea exported a Sabine Pass cargo on 9 November, while the Cheniere Energy-controlled 174,000m? Creole Spirit lifted a cargo on 11 November.
The 162,000m? Shell-controlled Maran Gas Alexandria left with a cargo on 12 November. Shell has a 20-year contract for up to 3.5mn t/yr, equivalent to about 483mn cf/d of gas, of Sabine Pass supplies when the first liquefaction train starts long-term operations this month and an additional 2mn t/yr from trains 2-4.
Shell has been able to buy up to 3.5mn t/yr from train 1 since May under a pre-commercial arrangement. Cheniere owns the terminal and can market some supplies on its own. The 173,000m? Ribera del Duero Knutsen and the 156,000m? Wilpride are scheduled to dock at Sabine Pass on 16 November.
The Ribera is controlled by Spain’s Gas Natural Fenosa, which has offtake rights from Sabine Pass train 2. It is not clear if this would be GNF’s first Sabine Pass cargo. The Wilpride is chartered by China’s state-controlled PetroChina, which will load its first spot LNG from Sabine Pass.
Sabine Pass was scheduled to receive about 1.53 Bcf of gas today, matching the daily intake record set each day on 12-13 November. Gas flows at Sabine Pass have averaged about 1.4 Bcf/d since 29 October and likely will increase soon, as testing of train 3 has begun. The unit will start exporting about February.
Maryland’s Cove Point LNG import terminal is also scheduled to receive a rare cargo next week. The 140,000m? Arctic Voyager is scheduled to arrive at Cove Point on 24 November with a cargo it loaded on 12 November at Norway’s Snohvit LNG facility. Norway’s state-controlled Statoil owns export capacity at Snohvit and import capacity at Cove Point, and also controls the vessel.
Cove Point did not import any cargoes in the first eight months of the year, according to the most recent data from the US Department of Energy. The facility is significantly underused because of the shale gas boom. Import cargoes are only needed to keep cryogenic equipment at proper low operating temperatures.