Freeport LNG Development LP now has until August 2028 to complete the fourth train at its export facility on the Upper Texas coast after FERC granted an authorization extension for its expansion project.

In an order published Thursday, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission agreed that the Covid-19 pandemic and resulting supply chain issues had severely hindered Freeport LNG’s development efforts, but the firm made good faith efforts to progress the project (No. CP17-470-002).

“Freeport LNG anticipates a minimum 48-56 month construction period, which makes it impossible for Freeport LNG to meet its current deadline of May 17, 2026,” FERC staff wrote in the order.

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Freeport LNG also disclosed to FERC that “demand for LNG has rebounded, and it has been actively negotiating with potential offtake customers.” The firm’s current offtake agreements are mostly inked with Asian clients such as Osaka Gas Co. and Jera Co. Inc., as well as portfolio players TotalEnergies SE and BP plc.

Thursday’s order was the second extension the Houston-based company has received since its fourth train project was approved in 2019. In 2020, FERC agreed to extend the project’s authorization from May 2023 to 2026 after the firm cited a downturn in international LNG contracting interest.

The fourth train, which is currently unsanctioned, could add an additional 5.1 million metric tons/year (mmty) to the facility’s existing 15.49 mmty export capacity. It also could share a similar design to the three existing trains, which use electric motors to reduce associated emissions in the liquefaction process, according to Freeport.

The company has previously said the project could be built near the existing trains at the Quintana Island, TX, facility and adjacent to its pretreatment units.

Along with pandemic and supply-related delays, Freeport is also in the process of replacing its engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contractor. The firm had previously awarded and EPC contract to KBR Inc. before the engineering company briefly exited from energy work in late 2020.

Work is still ongoing to restore operations at Freeport’s existing trains after a June incident at the facility resulted in an explosion. The firm guided in August that a partial restart of operations could begin in November, with around 2 Bcf/d of capacity back online by the end of that month.