Freeport LNG Development LP has extended the timeline for a return to operations at its liquefaction plant on Quintana Island, Tex., following a fire that broke out June 8.
Currently, completion of all necessary repairs and a return to full plant operations is not expected until late 2022. A return of partial operations is expected in about 90 days once regulatory clearances are obtained and safety can be assured, the company said in an update June 14.
The 15-million tonne/year liquefaction plant was initially expected to be shut for at least 3 weeks following a fire at the plant resulting from an incident that caused the release of LNG (OGJ Online, June 9, 2022). No injuries were reported.
The vapor cloud fire was contained within the fence line of the liquefaction plant, and lasted about 10 seconds, the company said. The fire and associated smoke visible thereafter were from the burning of materials in and around the location where the incident occurred, such as piping insulation and cabling. That fire was extinguished about 40 minutes after the initial incident. While the burning of those materials resulted in carbon monoxide, nitrous oxide, particulate matter, sulfur dioxide, and volatile organic compound emissions, these were of limited quantity due to the short duration of the fire and not at levels that posed any immediate risk to Freeport LNG personnel or the surrounding community, and no other chemicals or substances were released from the plant during the event, the company continued.
Water used to suppress the subsequent fire was captured on site and will be tested for harmful contaminants before being released or removed for proper disposal.
The incident occurred in pipe racks that support the transfer of LNG from the plant’s LNG storage tank area to the terminal’s dock infrastructure located on the intracoastal side of Freeport LNG’s dock basin. None of the liquefaction trains, LNG storage tanks, dock facilities, or LNG process areas were impacted, the company said.
Preliminary observations suggest that the incident resulted from the overpressure and rupture of a segment of an LNG transfer line, leading to the rapid flashing of LNG and the release and ignition of the natural gas vapor cloud, the company said.
An additional investigation is under way to determine the underlying events that enabled the overpressure conditions.