Cheniere to repair Louisiana LNG plant equipment after pollution test Reuters


© Reuters FILE PHOTO: An LNG tanker is guided by tugboats in the Cheniere Sabine Pass LNG export section in Cameron Parish, Louisiana, U.S., April 14, 2022. REUTERS/Marcy de Luna


(Amends paragraph 16 to reflect that Cheniere is not the only LNG company subject to EPA regulation)

By Nicola Bride and Valery Volkovich

(Reuters) – Top U.S. LNG exporter Cheniere Energy (NYSE: ) Inc said it would repair and replace equipment at a Louisiana terminal after tests showed it exceeded newly imposed hazardous emission limits on certain known carcinogens, with no material impact on operations. on operations.

A round of testing showed at least one of Cheniere’s turbines at a liquefied petroleum gas (LNG) export terminal in Louisiana failed the new standards, while turbines at the company’s only US LNG facility in Texas were meeting the rules, according to state documents. Regulators were reviewed in a series of data requests and by Reuters.

Under the US Clean Air Act, there is a rule called the National Emission Standards for Hazardous Pollutants, which limits emissions of known carcinogens such as formaldehyde and benzene, and was reinstated in February on gas-fired turbines. It is used exclusively by Cheniere in the LNG industry.

Cheniere, the top U.S. supplier of LNG to Europe, earlier this year asked the Biden administration for exemptions from the new rules, which it argued could undermine U.S. efforts to increase shipments to Western allies to offset supply cuts from Russia. The Environmental Protection Agency denied the request.

Cheniere told Louisiana regulators in a Sept. 8 email that initial tests showed one of the eight generator turbines at the Sabine Pass LNG facility failed to meet the new standards, and that it would make repairs to the turbine to lower emissions.

“Our turbine engineers determined that maintenance could improve the turbine’s emissions performance,” said Robert Gray, senior environmental coordinator for the Sabine Pass plant.

In the same email, Cheniere asked the state for permission to retest eight compressor turbines and said it would replace four others, but did not list the results of initial tests on those devices. The company conducted initial tests on 44 stationary turbines at the facility, the email said.

Cheniere spokesman Eben Burnham-Snyder told Reuters this week that the company “continues to review and analyze data on Sabine Pass to gain insight and develop solutions to ensure compliance.” The measures will not have any material impact on operations, he said.

“The agency will work with Cheniere to ensure they meet Clean Air Act obligations,” said EPA spokesman Tim Carroll.

Gregory Langley, a spokesman for the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality, said in an email that the agency is expected to receive official results from Chenier in early October and others in the rest of the month.

The Cheniere Corpus Christi facility in Texas submitted test documents to the state last week showing emissions from its 18 cooling turbines were below EPA standards, according to a copy of the document seen by Reuters.

A spokeswoman for the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality said the agency has not yet completed a review of the test results, which is required to ensure compliance.

Colin Cox, an attorney for the Environmental Protection Project, said it is important for Cheniere to monitor the turbines to ensure continued compliance moving forward.

Louisiana and Texas regulators are responsible for monitoring compliance with federal clean air laws and regulations for facilities in their respective states.

The EPA announced in February that the National Hazardous Pollutant Standards Rule will apply to two types of gas turbines that are nearly two decades away from regulation.

Under the rules, these turbines must comply with 91 parts per billion of formaldehyde emissions by September, a level that also controls other hazardous chemicals.

The Cheniere facilities and one other turbine are the only LNG plants subject to the rule, according to a list on the agency’s website.

Reuters previously reported that the EPA had raised concerns about Cheniere’s decision years ago to install highly polluting gas-fired turbines at its Gulf Coast LNG terminals.

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