Freeport LNG is now anticipating it will start up its liquefaction facility again at the end of the year, after estimating a mid-December restart just a couple weeks ago.

The facility, which was hit by an explosion on 8 June, has struggled to obtain permission from federal regulators to restart production, which has caused continuous delays to its start-up timeline.

The new timeline has been approved by regulators, a Freeport LNG spokesperson told Upstream.

“We received yesterday several key approvals from the regulatory agencies that allow us to complete certain critical repairs and commence reinstatement of certain systems. Based upon current progress, and subject to us continuing to meet necessary regulatory requirements, we now anticipate the restart of our liquefaction facility to be achieved around year end,” the spokesperson said.

A report in mid-November, carried out by Texas-based incident investigation company IFO Group, said the explosion in June was triggered by a segment of pipe that had no over-pressure protection which allowed the liquefied natural gas it was carrying to warm and expand.

The LNG turned into a boiling liquid, leading to a vapour explosion and causing a pipe to rupture.

The report cited a number of contributing factors to the explosion, including deficiencies in the facility’s pressure safety valve testing procedure and its car seal programme for managing valve safety systems. The company said it is addressing these issues.

Freeport LNG said it is also undertaking a “significant hiring effort” to address understaffing.

While a restart is expected by the end of December, LNG exports are not anticipated to resume until well into 2023.

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