Freeport LNG export terminal on Quintana Island, Texas, US, will not return to full operations until late 2022 following an explosion and fire on 8 June 2022.
Operator Freeport LNG Development has released a new statement with further details on the event. Preliminary investigations have shown that overpressure caused the rupture of an LNG transfer line in the pipe racks that transfer LNG from the storage tank area to the dock on the intracoastal, or north, side of Freeport LNG’s dock basin. This led to the formation and ignition of natural gas vapour cloud. The vapour cloud explosion was contained within fence line of the liquefaction facility and lasted approximately 10 seconds. However, the explosion ignited materials around the location of the explosion, including piping insulation and cabling, which could be seen by people in the surrounding area. This fire was extinguished around 40 minutes later with the assistance of the local fire service. None of the liquefaction trains, LNG storage tanks, dock facilities, or LNG process areas were affected in the incident.
Freeport LNG says that while the fire released gases include carbon monoxide, nitrous oxide, particulate matter, sulfur dioxide and volatile organic compounds, emissions were limited due to the short duration of the fire and local residents and site personnel were never at risk. No other substances were released and the water used to extinguish the fire was collected onsite and will be tested before being released or removed for disposal.
The company is now investigating the underlying events that enabled the overpressure conditions in the LNG piping. A partial restart will take place following initial repairs in around 90 days, once Freeport LNG can assure the safety of the plant and obtains regulatory clearance.
‘Freeport LNG is mindful of the impact this incident and our suspension of operations has on our personnel, our surrounding community, and the domestic and international gas and LNG markets. We have immense gratitude for the selfless efforts undertaken by Freeport LNG operators and emergency response personnel and local emergency responders to quickly address and contain the impacts of the event on our facilities, our personnel, and the surrounding community,’ says the company.
Analysts estimate that the shutdown of Freeport LNG will mean a reduction of 10% in global LNG supplies.