Fire at LNG terminal in Texas jolts residents, fuel markets

Jun 9, 2022, 1:54 PM | Updated: Jun 10, 2022, 2:53 am
FILE - A worker opens up the back of a liquefied natural gas to fill up the tank in George West, Te...

FILE - A worker opens up the back of a liquefied natural gas to fill up the tank in George West, Texas on April 2, 2019. An explosion at Freeport LNG in Texas on Wednesday, June 8, 2022, has left nearby residents rattled and is taking a substantial amount of the fuel off the market at a time when global demand is soaring. (Marie D. De Jesús/Houston Chronicle via AP, File)

(Marie D. De Jesús/Houston Chronicle via AP, File)

NEW YORK (AP) — An explosion at a liquefied natural gas terminal in Texas has left nearby residents rattled and is taking a substantial amount of the fuel off the market at a time when global demand is soaring.

Freeport LNG will be offline for at least three weeks, the company said Thursday, following a fire in its export facility. The company said no one was injured, and the cause is under investigation.

Melanie Oldham, who lives in Freeport, said she heard three loud bangs Wednesday morning and went outside to find out what was going on.

“It makes me feel like we are daily living with high risk of explosion, release of gas, public health issues for not only us in Freeport, but for all the people who go to those big beaches on Quintana Island,” said Oldham, a physical therapist and co-founder of Citizens for Clean Air and Clean Water of Freeport and Brazoria County. “We don’t know what could have been released into the air or even the water.”

A fire in the LNG terminal’s liquefaction delivery system led to excess emissions of carbon monoxide, nitrous oxides, particulate matter, sulfur dioxide and volatile organic compounds, according to an incident report filed with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality Thursday.

Longtime Freeport resident Gwendolyn Jones, 63, said she was about a mile or two from the facility when she saw a white cloud hovering over it after the fire. She was concerned that Freeport residents weren’t evacuated or warned about the incident by local authorities and thought nearby residents should be given respirators to help reduce the risk of inhaling dangerous fumes.

“We should have meetings where we could discuss issues to make sure that this would never ever happen again, because I’m afraid of what’s going to happen next,” Jones said. “Nothing but the grace of God has kept us alive in these situations.”

Normally, Freeport LNG exports about 2 billion cubic feet of liquefied natural gas per day, about 15% of the nation’s LNG exports.

The shutdown comes at a time when global demand for LNG is high because many nations are trying to wean themselves off Russian gas, which is sent into Europe primarily though pipelines. U.S. exports have been soaring.

Most of Freeport LNG’s exports were going to Europe, according to Rystad Energy. Europe may be able to offset the lost volume with increases from other facilities, said Emily McClain, vice president at Rystad. Europe gets about 45% of its LNG from the U.S., and the rest comes from Russia, Qatar and other sources, she said.

Freeport LNG sells gas to a mix of buyers including major oil and gas companies, Asian utilities and commodities traders, and “those buyers will no longer be getting deliveries from Freeport until the facility is fixed,” said Ross Wyeno, lead analyst at S&P Global Commodity Insights. Wyeno said it’s unlikely that other LNG terminals around the world can increase production to pick up the slack because “everybody’s pretty much maxed out if they can be.”

As a result, LNG prices are increasing, and consumers in Europe are likely to feel the impact, Wyeno said. But in the U.S., natural gas prices are falling because a major buyer of gas — the LNG terminal — stopped buying, he added.

Lower domestic natural gas prices aren’t soothing the nerves of people who live near the terminal though. Freeport residents such as Oldham and Jones have long been concerned about the potential for incidents at the terminal.

“Our fears came true, unfortunately,” Oldham said.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

In this courtroom sketch, R. Kelly briefly addresses Judge Ann Donnelly during his sentencing in fe...
Associated Press

EXPLAINER: How will R. Kelly sentence impact other trials?

CHICAGO (AP) — R. Kelly could be in his 80s before the singer is free again, based on a 30-year prison term imposed this week by a New York federal judge for parlaying his fame to sexually abuse young fans, including some who were children. And if the 55-year-old loses at three related trials in […]
21 hours ago
In this photo provided by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, this 1942 Navy photo shows miners build...
Associated Press

Navy report: Multiple errors poisoned Pearl Harbor water

PEARL HARBOR, Hawaii (AP) — A Navy investigation released Thursday revealed that shoddy management and human error caused fuel to leak into Pearl Harbor’s tap water last year, poisoning thousands of people and forcing military families to evacuate their homes for hotels. The investigation is the first detailed account of how jet fuel from the […]
21 hours ago
Associated Press

Police: Shooting in Newark wounds 9; all expected to survive

NEWARK, N.J. (AP) — Nine people, including a teenager, were wounded Thursday evening in gunfire outside a neighborhood grocery shop in Newark, police said. All of the victims are expected to survive and police are searching for a vehicle believed to have been involved in the shooting, Acting Newark Public Safety Director Raul Malave told […]
21 hours ago
Roberto Marquez adds a cross to a makeshift memorial at the site where officials more than 50 peopl...
Associated Press

US official: Migrants who died cleared inland checkpoint

The tractor-trailer at the center of a disastrous human-smuggling attempt that left 53 people dead had passed through an inland U.S. Border Patrol checkpoint with migrants inside the sweltering rig earlier in its journey, a U.S. official said Thursday.
21 hours ago
FILE - UCLA guard Jaime Jaquez Jr., right, tries to get by Southern California forward Isaiah Moble...
Associated Press

Big Ten votes to add USC, UCLA as members starting in 2024

In a surprising and seismic shift in college athletics, the Big Ten voted Thursday to add Southern California and UCLA as conference members beginning in 2024. The expansion to 16 teams will happen after the Pac-12’s current media rights contracts with Fox and ESPN expire and make the Big Ten the first conference to stretch […]
21 hours ago
FILE—Plastic bottles of shampoo are displayed at Compton's Market in Sacramento, Calif., Friday, ...
Associated Press

California sets nation’s toughest plastics reduction rules

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — Companies selling shampoo, food and other products wrapped in plastic have a decade to cut down on their use of the polluting material if they want their wares on California store shelves. Major legislation passed and signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom on Thursday aims to significantly reduce single-use plastic packaging in […]
21 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...
CANVAS ANNUITY

Best retirement savings rates hit 4.30%

Maximize your retirement savings with guaranteed fixed rates up to 4.30%. Did you know there is a financial product that can give you great interest rates as you build your retirement savings and provide you with a paycheck for life once you retire? It might sound too good to be true but it is not; this product is called an annuity.
...
Carla Berg, MHS, Deputy Director, Public Health Services, Arizona Department of Health Services

Update your child’s vaccines before kindergarten

So, your little one starts kindergarten soon. How exciting! You still have a few months before the school year starts, so now’s the time to make sure students-to-be have the vaccines needed to stay safe as they head into a new chapter of life.
...
Carla Berg, MHS, Deputy Director, Public Health Services, Arizona Department of Health Services

ADHS mobile program brings COVID-19 vaccines and boosters to Arizonans

The Arizona Department of Health Services and partner agencies are providing even more widespread availability by making COVID-19 vaccines available in neighborhoods through trusted community partners.
Fire at LNG terminal in Texas jolts residents, fuel markets