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Friday, October 07, 2022

Fire at LNG terminal in Texas jolts residents, fuel markets

NEW YORK ( Associated Press) – An explosion at a liquefied natural gas terminal in Texas has stunned nearby residents and is taking a substantial amount of the fuel off the market at a time when global demand is rising.

Freeport LNG will remain offline for at least three weeks, the company said on Thursday after a fire broke out at its export facility. The company said no one was injured, and the cause is being investigated.

Melanie Oldham, who lives in Freeport, said she heard three loud bangs on Wednesday morning and went outside to find out what was happening.

Oldham said, “It makes me feel like we are living with daily explosions, gas releases, public health issues not only for us in Freeport, but for everyone who visits those big beaches on Quintana Island.” Huh.” Physiotherapist and co-founder of Citizens for Clean Air and Clean Water of Freeport and Brazoria County. “We don’t know what could have been released into the air or the water.”

The fire at the LNG terminal’s liquefaction delivery system resulted in additional emissions of carbon monoxide, nitrous oxide, particulate matter, sulfur dioxide and volatile organic compounds, according to an incident report filed Thursday with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality.

Gwendolyn Jones, 63, a longtime Freeport resident, said she was about a mile or two from the facility when she saw a white cloud hovering over her after the fire. She was concerned that Freeport residents had not been evacuated or warned about the incident by local authorities and thought that nearby residents should be given respirators to help reduce the exposure to the hazardous fumes. .

“We should have meetings where we can discuss issues to make sure this never happens again, because I’m afraid of what’s going to happen next,” Jones said. “Nothing but the grace of God has kept us alive in these conditions.”

Normally, Freeport LNG exports about 2 billion cubic feet of liquefied natural gas per day, which accounts for about 15% of the country’s LNG exports.

The shutdown comes at a time when global demand for LNG is high as many countries try to wean themselves off Russian gas, which is mainly sent to Europe via pipelines. US exports are on the rise.

According to Rystad Energy, the majority of Freeport LNG exports were going to Europe. Rystad vice president Emily McClain said Europe may be able to make up for lost volume with growth from other facilities. Europe gets about 45% of its LNG from the US, and the rest from Russia, Qatar and other sources, she said.

Freeport LNG sells gas to a mix of buyers including major oil and gas companies, Asian utilities and commodity traders, and “those buyers will no longer receive delivery from Freeport until the facility is settled,” said Ross, principal analyst at S&P Global. Wayno said. Commodity Insights. Wino said it is unlikely that other LNG terminals around the world can increase production because “everybody is pretty much maxed out if they can.”

As a result, LNG prices are rising, and consumers in Europe are likely to feel the effect, Wino said. But in the US, natural gas prices are falling because a major buyer of the gas – the LNG terminal – has stopped buying, he said.

However, low domestic natural gas prices are not calming the nerves of people living near the terminal. Freeport residents like Oldham and Jones have long worried about the potential for incidents at the terminal.

“Our fears came true, unfortunately,” Oldham said.

Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

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