Corpus Christi maintenance puts a strain on US LNG exports

According to analysts and Refinitiv, the amount of natural gas flowing to liquefied natural gas (LNG) export facilities in the US fell to a monthly low on Thursday due to planned work on Cheniere Energy Inc’s Corpus Christi in Texas.

Traders noted that LNG feed gas could drop even further next week if Cameron LNG shuts down a liquefaction train at its Louisiana facility for scheduled work.

Cameron LNG said it has “scheduled maintenance on one of the liquefaction trains next week. Normal production levels are expected if the work is completed in a day or so.”

According to Refinitive data, LNG feed gas fell to 9.7 billion cubic feet per day (bcfd) on Thursday. That was the lowest since March 9, when U.S. exports rebounded after several Gulf Coast LNG plants shut down due to a gas and power shortage during the Texas freeze in mid-February.

Analysts said it was normal for LNG plants and gas pipelines that serve them to close for maintenance in the spring when demand is low.

Cheniere, who did not comment on the operation, said in a posting on his website that pipeline maintenance was taking place on the Sinton compressor in Texas on April 8th.

LNG feed gas for Corpus should increase from 1.0 bcfd on Thursday to 1.7 bcfd on Friday, according to preliminary data from Refinitiv. This corresponds to an average of 2.5 bcfd in the previous week.

One billion cubic feet of gas is enough to supply about five million US homes a day.

So far this month, an average of 11.1 bcfd of gas flowed into all US LNG plants, which would beat the monthly record of 10.8 bcfd in March.

Traders said Feedgas was unlikely to break March’s record in April due to the corpus and the upcoming Cameron cuts.

(Reporting by Scott DiSavino; Editing by Diane Craft)