U.S. natgas flows rise to 3-week high as Texas Freeport pulls in more fuel

(Reuters) - The amount of natural gas flowing to the seven U.S. LNG export plants was on track to rise by about 5% to a three-week high as Freeport LNG in Texas started to pull in more feedgas, data from financial firm LSEG showed.

The startup and shutdown of Freeport and other U.S. LNG export plants often has a major impact on global gas prices.

Expectations that gas supplies will increase with the return of Freeport helped cut prices at the European Dutch Title Transfer Facility (TTF) TRNLTTFMc1 benchmark by around 4% to a two-week low of $8.80 per million British thermal units (mmBtu) on Monday. NG/EU

In the U.S., meanwhile, prices climbed about 2% to a seven-week high of $1.95 per mmBtu at the Henry Hub NGc1 benchmark in Louisiana on expectations demand for the fuel to supply gas for LNG exports will rise. NGA/

Total feedgas to all of the country's big LNG export plants was on track to rise from 12.2 billion cubic feet per day (bcfd) on Sunday to a preliminary three-week high of 12.9 bcfd on Monday on signs that at least one of the three liquefaction trains at Freeport LNG was exiting an outage.

That increase came as the amount of gas flowing to Freeport rose to a two-week high of 0.8 bcfd on Monday, up from 0.3 bcfd on Sunday. That compares with almost no gas flows to the plant over the prior four days (April 24-27).

Each Freeport train can turn about 0.7 bcfd of gas into LNG.

One billion cubic feet is enough gas to supply about 5 million U.S. homes for a day.

Officials at Freeport had no comment on the latest increase in feedgas.

In late March, Freeport said it expected two of the three liquefaction trains at the plant, Trains 1 and 2, to remain shut until May for inspections and repairs, while Train 3 was operating.

Train 3, however, shut around April 11 and feedgas to the plant has averaged about 0.1 bcfd since then.

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