© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: An LNG tanker is guided by tugs at Cheniere Sabine Pass LNG export unit in Cameron Parish, Louisiana, U.S., April 14, 2022. REUTERS/Marcy de Luna
By Nichola Groom and Valerie Volcovici
(Reuters) – Top U.S. LNG exporter Cheniere Energy (NYSE: Inc) said it would repair and replace equipment at its Louisiana terminal after tests showed it exceeded toxic emissions limits. New harm is applied to some known carcinogens, but the work will not have a serious impact on performance.
A round of inspections found that at least one of Cheniere’s turbines at its liquefied natural gas (LNG) export terminal in Louisiana fell short of the new standards, while turbines in Texas at its only LNG facility in the US Other companies meet the rules, according to documents obtained by the state. Regulators approved a series of requests for information and were reviewed by Reuters.
At issue is a rule under the US Clean Air Act called the National Emission Standard for Hazardous Pollutants, which imposes restrictions on emissions of known carcinogens such as formaldehyde and benzene. , was re-issued in February to apply to a class of gas-powered turbines. used only in Cheniere’s LNG industry.
Cheniere, the top US LNG supplier to Europe, earlier this year asked the Biden administration to waive the new regulations, saying they could undermine US efforts to ramp up shipments of shipments. goods to Western allies to offset supply cuts from Russia. The Environmental Protection Agency denied the request.
Cheniere told Louisiana regulators in an email on September 8 that initial testing showed that one of eight generator turbines at their Sabine Pass LNG facility failed to meet the new requirements and that they will carry out turbine repairs to reduce emissions.
Robert Gray, Sabine Pass plant senior environmental coordinator, writes: “Our turbine engineers determined that the repair could improve the turbine’s emissions performance.
In the same email, Cheniere asked for state approval to retest eight compressor turbines and said they were replacing four more, but did not detail the results of initial tests on those units. . The company conducted initial testing on 44 stationary turbines at the facility, according to the email.
Cheniere spokesman Eben Burnham-Snyder told Reuters this week that the company is “continuing to examine and analyze data at Sabine Pass to gain insights and develop assurance solutions.” follow.” He said the measures would not have a significant impact on operations.
“The agency will work with Cheniere to ensure that it meets its Clean Air Act obligations,” said EPA spokesman Tim Carroll.
Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality spokesman Gregory Langley said in an email that the agency expects to receive official results from Cheniere in early October and beyond through the end of the month.
Cheniere’s Corpus Christi facility in Texas filed test documents with the state last week that showed emissions from all 18 of its refrigeration turbines were well below the EPA’s thresholds, according to a copy of the document. Reuters seen.
A spokesperson for the Texas Environmental Quality Commission said the agency has not yet completed its review of the test results, which are required to confirm compliance.
Colin Cox, an attorney with the Environmental Integrity Project, said it was important for Cheniere to monitor the turbines to ensure continued compliance in the future.
Louisiana and Texas regulators are responsible for monitoring compliance with federal clean air laws and regulations for facilities in their respective states.
The EPA announced in February that the National Emissions Standard rule on hazardous pollutants would apply to two types of gas turbines that have not been regulated in nearly two decades.
By law, these turbines must comply with the 91 parts per billion formaldehyde emission limit by September, a level used to control other hazardous chemicals.
Cheniere is the only LNG company using this type of turbine and has affected facilities, according to a list provided by the EPA and previously reported by Reuters.
The EPA many years ago raised concerns over Cheniere’s decision to install more polluting gas-powered turbines at Gulf Coast LNG terminals years before they started operating, Reuters reported earlier. there.