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Cheniere LNG output unaffected by shutdown of Louisiana storage tanks

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Reuters are reporting that Cheniere Energy Inc has announced that LNG production from its Sabine Pass export plant in Louisiana will not be affected following an order to shut two cracked storage tanks that leaked.

On 8 February the US Department of Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) ordered Cheniere to shut two LNG storage tanks after plant workers discovered a one-to-six foot long crack at one tank that leaked the fuel into an outer layer.

The order comes as Cheniere is preparing to expand another LNG export facility at Corpus Christi in Texas that is under construction after signing a multi-year deal to sell fuel to a company in China.

During the investigation of the Sabine site, PHMSA discovered a second tank had also experienced releases of LNG from the inner tank, raising the possibility that similar leaks may have occurred in multiple tanks.

The leak discovered on 22 January was only the latest in a series of incidents that have occurred between 2008 and 2016 in tank 103, where the recent leak occurred.

There are five tanks at Sabine, each with the capacity to hold the equivalent of 3.4 billion ft3 of gas or 17 billion ft3 in total. One billion cubic feet of gas is enough to fuel about five million US homes.

Cheniere’s Sabine Pass terminal in Louisiana is currently the only big LNG export facility operating in the country. Several other companies are building other trains at six sites which is expected to make the US into the third biggest LNG exporter by capacity in 2018.

Total US export capacity is expected to rise to 4.6 billion ft3 per day by the end of 2018 and 9.4 billion ft3 per day by the end of 2019 from 3.0 billion ft3 per day now.

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