On Tuesday, January 24, U.S. natural gas futures fell by 6%. The decline was driven by several reasons, among which is uncertainty about the restart of the Freeport LNG export plant. The prices were also influenced by forecasts of milder weather conditions and lower heating demand in the upcoming weeks.
Although Freeport LNG representatives announced that the repairs are completed and the plant is ready to operate again, analysts have some doubts. According to them, the plant will need more time to overcome its previous shutdown.
Freeport LNG is currently awaiting federal regulators’ permission to restart. At first, the plant will cool down certain pipes, which might take about 11 days, as experts estimated. Then it will request permission to start the liquefaction trains.
The duration of the restart is in line with forecasts that the plant will not resume its operation until February. Some analysts assumed that it might occur even later. Such a large amount of work needed to get the regulators’ approval might take time until the second quarter of this year.