December 8, 2023 [S&P Global]- ExxonMobil expects the Golden Pass LNG terminal under construction in Texas to start producing LNG in the first half of 2025, executives said Dec. 6, representing a delay from the previous timeline for bringing the facility online in late 2024.
The company, which provided the new timeline for the project with the release of its updated corporate plan, did not immediately respond to a request for comment about the reason for the delay. ExxonMobil is building the project, which will have a peak capacity of about 18.1 million mt/year, with majority-owner QatarEnergy.
“Train 1 mechanical completion is expected at the end of 2024 with first LNG in first half of 2025,” ExxonMobil CFO Kathy Mikells said in preliminary prepared remarks ahead of a call with investors.
While a slight delay, the new timeline for the expected startup of Golden Pass could be significant for the US Gulf Coast gas market in 2024 because it suggested that the US LNG feed gas demand, which represents a key driver of gas demand growth, could rise at a slower rate than market participants had expected during the year. It also suggested that the LNG volumes from Golden Pass would not be available in time to serve 2024-2025 winter demand.
The entity developing the terminal, Golden Pass LNG, did not immediately respond to a request for comment Dec. 6.
The project sponsors of Golden Pass will independently market their own share of LNG production from the project. QatarEnergy will market 70%, while ExxonMobil will market the remaining 30% stake, or about 5 million mt/year.
ExxonMobil CEO Darren Woods during the call discussed a “much stronger desire” among global LNG buyers since Russia’s February 2022 invasion of Ukraine “to lock in long-term LNG commitments.” Woods said ExxonMobil was responding to that demand as it develops its projects, including Golden Pass and others in Papua New Guinea, Mozambique and Qatar. The company aims to grow an equity portfolio of LNG that is roughly 80% committed under long-term contracts.
“We’re not challenged … in signing up offtake agreements for the LNG that we’re looking to bring on with these projects,” Woods said.
Golden Pass has sought permission from the US Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Oct. 5 for approval to start commissioning the refrigeration and fuel gas systems on the first of three liquefaction trains by Nov. 20. That request remained pending Dec. 6.
A separate Oct. 10 filing related to the Golden Pass Pipeline expansion project that will help supply the terminal provided the second half of 2024 as the “anticipated timing” for the first train and said the “anticipated in-service timing” for the pipeline “is expected sometime prior to the second half of 2024.”
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