Cheniere Energy says it has proposed replacing Trains 4 and 5 at its Corpus Christi LNG project in Texas with seven lighter, mid-scale trains.
The two originally planned trains together would have had 9mn metric tons/yr capacity, whereas the seven smaller ones will add up to 9.5 million mt/yr.
The announcement comes as Train 4 at Cheniere's existing Sabine Pass export complex in Louisiana this week was declared largely complete.
The proposed changes at Corpus Christi, advanced to the US regulator Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) in a conference call on October 4, would address certain “geotechnical challenges” associated with installing two normal trains, each rated at 4.5 million mt/year, at the site.
Eben Burnham-Snyder, Cheniere’s vice-president, communications, told Natural Gas World that it would be more cost efficient to build the smaller almost 1.4 million mt/year mid-scale trains and eliminate the need for costly excavation and foundation work.
“There is no one-size-fits-all solution for customers in a competitive and diverse LNG market,” he wrote in an email: “Mid-scale provides Cheniere even more flexibility to expand our facilities, get LNG facilities to the market faster, all while continuing to fully-commercialize our larger scale LNG trains.”
Capital costs and full life-cycle costs are still being analyzed, Cheniere says.
The seven smaller trains at Corpus Christi would increase the total capacity of the project, when completed, to 23 million mt/year. Trains 1 and 2 are currently under construction, with completion expected mid-2019. A third 4.5 million mt/year train is fully-permitted and is currently being commercialized, although a final investment decision has not yet been made on its construction.
Sabine T4 declared "substantially complete"
Cheniere Energy is currently exporting LNG from the first three trains at its Sabine Pass export terminal in Louisiana. The company said October 13 that train 4 there was declared "substantially complete" on October 9, and is expected to make its first commercial delivery to India's GAIL in March 2018. Cheniere said two months ago that commissioning of Train 4 at Sabine began March 2017 and that first LNG was produced in July 2017.
Sabine will have six liquefaction trains, each of 4.5 million mt/yr, for a total 27 million mt/yr capacity once complete. Trains 1 to 3 opened between May 2016 and March 2017. The fifth is due to start up 2H 2019 while a final investment decision (FID) on train 6 has yet to be taken.