Cheniere Energy Inc. announced late last week that the Celestine River LNG vessel has departed from the Nigeria LNG terminal carrying its first cargo of liquefied natural gas (LNG) destined for the new Sabine Pass terminal in Cameron Parish, LA.

The tanker is scheduled to arrive at the Sabine Pass LNG terminal around April 12 and deliver the cargo for the terminal’s “cool down” process, which cools the facility to its normal operating temperature. Earlier this month, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) granted Cheniere’s request to accept cargoes for testing. Cheniere also received authorization for commissioning activities at Sabine Pass and to put its Sabine Pass pipeline segment into service in advance of the rest of the new Creole Trail pipeline. Several LNG cargoes are expected to be delivered into the Sabine Pass terminal from Nigeria in late March and early April (see NGI, March 24).

“After several years of development and construction, we are very excited to receive our cool-down cargo on our own ship,” said Cheniere CEO Charif Souki. “We hope this marks the beginning of a long relationship with Nigeria LNG, a dominant LNG producer in the Atlantic Basin.”

Sabine Pass LNG will be the largest LNG receiving terminal in North America by regasification capacity at 4 Bcf/d and will have 16.8 Bcf of LNG storage capacity with two berths capable of handling the largest LNG vessels. It is located on 853 acres of land remote from dense population and 3.7 miles from the open waters of the Gulf of Mexico.

The Sabine Pass LNG receiving terminal is owned by Cheniere Energy Partners, LP, in which Cheniere Energy, Inc. has a 90.6% interest through its ownership of common units, general partner units and subordinated units. The Celestine River is a new, 145,000 cubic meter-capacity LNG vessel owned and operated by K-Line LNG shipping and chartered by Cheniere. The Nigeria LNG terminal is located in Bonny Island, Nigeria and operated by Nigeria LNG Ltd.

Sabine Pass is one of three LNG receiving terminals that Cheniere is currently developing as part of an LNG network in the south. The Creole Trail and Corpus Christi are the two other LNG terminals currently under development. FERC last week granted an extension for the Corpus Christi project (see related story).

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