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IEEFA U.S.: Calcasieu Pass LNG’s unreliable operations result in excessive pollution and profits

October 25, 2023

Key Takeaways:

A modular design process for Venture Global’s Calcasieu Pass LNG project has resulted in a lengthy and troubled commissioning process.

One of the major issues at the Calcasieu Pass LNG project has been excessive air pollution created by design and construction flaws.

Because of the lengthy commissioning process, Venture Global is reaping large profits by selling LNG on the spot market rather than to long-term, contracted offtakers.

The community and offtakers are suffering from Venture Global’s flawed design and construction process. Regulators should ensure that the company pays for its mistakes.

In an attempt to reduce construction costs, Venture Global’s Calcasieu Pass LNG project has caused increased pollution emissions, resulting in air permit violations and heightened public health risks, according to a new report from the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA).

In addition to the increased emissions, problems with the project have resulted in a lost opportunity for contract-rate profits—a factor that potential long-term clients should consider regarding projects that plan a similar construction approach. The report explains how the Calcasieu Pass LNG project and subsequent Venture Global projects that follow the same construction design pose issues for community residents and corporate customers.

Venture Global's Calcasieu Pass LNG project used a modular design consisting of multiple small liquefaction trains. The design was billed as a cheap and efficient means of building export terminals. Although construction was completed quickly, the project has suffered from an extended and troubled commissioning process resulting from significant design flaws and problems related to its modular design and rapid construction. Flaring and emissions violations during commissioning have stoked community opposition to the project. Venture Global’s customers also have complained that the company is exploiting loopholes to sell LNG on a spot market at higher prices, rather than supplying it under long-term, at cheaper contract prices.

The Calcasieu Pass LNG project is seeking to raise limits on its hazardous and toxic emissions which would negatively impact local communities,” said Trey Cowan, IEEFA energy analyst and author of the report. “Future projects could also be impacted by raising emissions limits, leaving the community at risk far into the future.

Long-term clients for the Calcasieu Pass LNG project like BP, Shell, Repsol and Edison SPA are disadvantaged during the extended commissioning of the facility, since they’re being charged more for LNG sold on the spot market while the project is commissioned than they would under long-term contracts that take effect after commissioning. This should serve as a red flag to potential clients for other LNG projects where similar complications may arise.

The communities most affected by the Global Venture projects rely on regulators to step in to prevent environmental risks and protect the public’s interests, but are absorbing the brunt of the environmental issues that Venture Global LNG has created.

Trey Cowan

Trey Cowan is an oil & gas Energy Analyst focused on U.S. upstream and global energy markets with a keen interest in Texas activities.

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