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Cheniere's Corpus Christi LNG Terminal Begins Operation

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Corpus Christi LNG under construction (file image courtesy Cheniere)

By The Maritime Executive 2018-11-15 18:06:00

Cheniere Energy has begun operations at its new $15 billion LNG export facility in Corpus Christi, Texas. The plant's first liquefaction train is online, and it will soon be ready to produce up to 4.5 million tons per annum of LNG.  

At an inaugural ceremony Thursday, Chenier CEO Jack Fusco joined Texas Governor Greg Abott and U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross to celebrate the facility's long-awaited opening. "I am proud to get up here and be able to say that Texas is the energy capital of the entire world, and thanks to Cheniere, we just got bigger," said Governor Abbott in a keynote address. 

Fusco told local media that the first train's initial low-rate production is being used for cool-down, and it will begin producing its first commissioning cargo soon. He did not give a timeline for its first export load, but the LNG carrier Golar Tundra is alongside at Corpus Christi LNG's terminal in order to receive product when commercial operations begin. The first cargo will go to the highest bidder, according to Fusco - likely in China, South Korea or Japan, where prices are higher. 

At full build-out, Corpus Christi LNG will have a nameplate capacity of 23 mtpa, making it the second-largest export terminal in the U.S. Train 2 and Train 3 are still under construction, and will likely come online in late 2019 and late 2021, respectively. Cheniere's first facility in Sabine Pass, the largest LNG terminal in the U.S., celebrated the opening of its fifth train last week. 

The new LNG terminal is very important to the Port of Corpus Christi, which sees it as a major driver for future growth. "We expect to add another 50 percent to our revenues in the next five to seven years, and LNG is a huge part of that," said Kent Britton, the port's financial controller, in a recent presentation.