Texas residents demand answers from energy regulators over LNG plant

At a hearing to address circumstances at the fire-idled Freeport LNG plant, Texas citizens questioned US energy officials on Saturday over their oversight of liquefied natural gas processing plants, Reuters reports.

After a catastrophic explosion shut down the second-largest LNG export terminal in the United States in June of last year, operations were suspended while authorities looked into staffing and operations.

When operating at full capacity, Freeport LNG exports up to 15 million tonnes of LNG annually and processes around 2 billion cubic feet of natural gas per day. Because of the effect on U.S. natural gas prices, its path toward reopening is keenly monitored.

It will take “a number of months,” according to Bryan Lethcoe, regional director of the regulatory Pipeline Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA), for Freeport LNG to resume normal operations. PHMSA representatives declined to give a precise figure.

People questioned whether inspectors had adequately supervised the plant’s renovations, its prior emissions, or the health monitoring of the neighborhood’s residents.

A representative for the Freeport LNG plant declined to comment.

According to a safety audit, the blast was caused by improper operating and testing methods, operator weariness, and other flaws. According to a PHMSA spokesperson, almost 10,000 pounds of methane were emitted. Natural gas’s primary ingredient and most powerful greenhouse gas is methane.

Once authorities accept its plans, the LNG producer will work to reopen the facility safely after finishing all repairs, according to a prior statement from a spokeswoman.

PHMSA’s deputy associate administrator, Linda Daugherty, stated that its reviews are ongoing. Regarding if they discovered any safety issues, officials opted not to comment.

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