Cheniere Energy Inc.‘s Sabine Pass liquefied natural gas (LNG) export terminal in Louisiana is creeping closer to sending out its first cargo, according to Genscape Inc., which has been monitoring commissioning and gas delivery activity at the project. “Since commissioning began last Oct. 1 2015, Sabine has received a total of 4.55 Bcf in commissioning gas from the Creole Trail and NGPL pipelines,” Genscape said in note Tuesday. “It has also boiled off 1.92 Bcf from its regasification side that was cycled back as some of this commissioning gas. All of this gas delivered to the facility has been either flared or used to run the compressors in commissioning.” More recently, a receipt location on Creole Trail, “Sabine Pass LNG,” which was representative of the boil off gas has flipped and is now delivering small feed gas volumes (about 8 MMcf/d) to Sabine, according to Genscape, which also said in its note that first liquefaction is likely to “soon take place.” The terminal was to have sent out its first cargo earlier this year, but that was delayed by technical difficulties at the facility (see Daily GPI, Jan. 14).

Spokane, WA-based Avista Utilities received approval from the Idaho Public Utilities Commission (PUC) for its 20-year plan, which includes a forecast for a lower annual load growth rate of 0.6%, compared with the previous integrated resource plan’s estimate of 1% growth annually. Avista found no need for additional gas-fired generation until 2020, when the company envisions adding a 96 MW gas-fired peaking plant. In the longer term, Avista anticipates building a 286 MW gas-fired combined-cycle plant in 2026, another 96 MW peaking plant in 2027, and a 47 MW gas-fired peaking plant in 2034. The bulk of Avista’s power generation in Idaho comes from either hydroelectric sources (51% in the winter and 38% on average annually) and natural gas (37% in the winter and 42% of the on average annually).

Shell Chemical LPhas broken ground for its $717 million linear alpha olefins manufacturing plant in Geismar, LA. The project is expected to make Shell Chemical’s Geismar location the largest single-site producer of alpha olefins in the world (see Daily GPI, Nov. 30, 2015). The plant is expected to be operational in early 2018. The company has selected Baton Rouge-based Turner Industries as its general construction contractor. The plant will produce intermediate chemicals that are used for a variety of consumer and industrial products, including packaging plastics, synthetic lubricants, drilling fluids and household detergents. Capacity of the linear alpha olefins unit will be 425 kilotons per year, and the new plant will be the fourth alpha olefins production plant on the 800-acre site, where Shell Chemical has operated since 1967.