Freeport LNG officially sought permission from federal regulators to restart commercial operations on Monday amid growing concerns over the safety of the long-idled gas export terminal. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission is still reviewing Freeport LNG’s request. In a rare public meeting over the weekend, an official with the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) told residents Freeport LNG failed to investigate an operator’s warning that a pipeline had visibly shifted. Yet, “[n]one of the more experienced personnel went to the site to look at it themselves,” PHMSA’s Bryan Lethcoe said.
That pipeline exploded two days later.No one from Freeport LNG attended the community meeting, much to the displeasure of local residents like Gwendolyn Jones. “We want Michael Smith, the CEO, to put your big boy pants on” and meet with residents, Jones told Bloomberg. Methane gas prices jumped 5% on the news that some gas had already begun flowing to the liquefaction and export terminal. (Restart request: Reuters, E&E $; Freeport absence: Bloomberg $; Gas prices: Reuters)