Recently, two Louisiana Sabine LNG storage tanks leaked on the Sabine Pass export terminal. Consequentially, U.S. Energy and safety regulators, such as the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), denied authorization for Cheniere Energy Inc. to return these tanks back to service.
Discovered on January 22, 2018 by some plant workers was a 1 to 6 foot long crack in one tank leaking into an outer layer. Cheniere’s two tanks were quickly shut down by PHMSA on February 8, 2018 and they were told by agencies that any service returned to a tank before safety requirements were met would be at their own risk.
While Cheniere agreed in April of 2018 that they would begin correcting issues, regulators have reported that the company has “failed to comply" in some instances of testing equipment and providing documentation.
Cheniere claims they have “been responsive and forthcoming throughout this process and will continue to be,” and they “will provide a formal response” to the claims agencies have made about them.
In order for Cheniere to return the tanks to service, a structural re-inspection of all five LNG storage tanks in Sabine, capable of holding 17 bcf, and an installation of specific devices to alert them of leaks is required.