FBI investigates after explosion: LNG factory in Texas closed until September

A German hope for an early replacement for Russian natural gas has been missing for a long time: after an explosion in June, a large plant in Texas will remain closed until at least September.

FBI investigates after explosion: LNG factory in Texas closed until September

A German hope for an early replacement for Russian natural gas has been missing for a long time: after an explosion in June, a large plant in Texas will remain closed until at least September. According to a report, the FBI is investigating whether Moscow had anything to do with the accident.

The large plant for the production of liquefied natural gas (LNG) in the US state of Texas, which was shut down due to a fire, may be out for several weeks. The US Administration of Pipelines and Transportation of Hazardous Materials (PHMSA) denied operator Freeport LNG permission to restart the plant. Without further measures, a company is a risk to public safety, the authority said in its preliminary report. An external investigation must be completed first.

That could delay a restart of the plant, which processes natural gas in the form of a highly chilled liquid for export by ship, until September. Freeport LNG could not immediately be reached for comment. The plant on the US Gulf Coast caught fire in early June after an explosion. In its report, the PHMSA cited the failure of a safety valve as the cause, which led to excessive pressure in a pipeline. This is how LNG and methane were released. The facility can process up to 2.1 billion cubic feet of natural gas per day for export. This amount would be enough to supply ten million US households for one day. The facility is used by several companies including divisions of BP, Jera, Kansai Electric, Osaka Gas, SK E

The timing of the accident had raised the question of whether it might be a question of Russian sabotage. According to the "Washington Examiner", cyber units of the secret service GRU are said to have carried out targeted reconnaissance operations against Freeport LNG, which is one of the largest exporters of liquid gas in the USA, around the beginning of the Ukraine invasion. A source told him the FBI was investigating the case, the paper wrote. The authorities themselves told him they could neither confirm nor deny this.

Freeport wrote in a statement that gas escaped from pipes from the storage tanks to the dock facilities and ignited. The accident was probably due to a rupture as a result of overpressure. How such an incident could have happened despite the necessary security measures is now the subject of the investigation.

The global demand for liquefied natural gas has increased significantly since the Russian invasion of Ukraine. European countries in particular are trying to reduce their dependency on Russian energy sources. Economics Minister Robert Habeck fears that Nord Stream will stop supplying gas from Russia altogether. From July 11, there is a threat of "a total blockade of Nord Stream 1," said the Green politician of the "Süddeutsche Zeitung". That's why it can be problematic in winter.

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