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Sempra sees Cameron LNG export plant in Louisiana fully back in 6 weeks

Sept 18 (Reuters) - Sempra Energy said it expects the Cameron liquefied natural gas (LNG) export plant in Louisiana to return to full service in six weeks after lingering power outages from Hurricane Laura have kept it shut since late August.

“We expect (Cameron) to be in full operation in six weeks,” Sempra Energy CEO Jeffrey Martin said at the U.S. Department of Energy’s 2020 Natural Gas Summit on Thursday.

Sempra is one of Cameron LNG’s partners along with units of Mitsui & Co, Mitsubishi Corp, Total SA and Nippon Yusen KK (NYK Line).

Officials at Cameron LNG have not said when the plant would return to service but the company has been working with the local power company, Entergy Corp, to restore partial power so Cameron can start the process of returning.

Entergy said on its website this week that it expects to restore power in the Hackberry area, near where Cameron is located, by Sept. 20.

Even though Cameron has remained shut since Aug. 27, the amount of gas flowing to U.S. LNG export plants has jumped to an average of 5.4 billion cubic feet per day (bcfd) so far in September.

That was the most in a month since May and was up for a second month in a row for the first time since hitting a record 8.7 bcfd in February as rising global gas prices prompted buyers to reverse some cargo cancellations.

Prior to that, U.S. exports fell every month from March to July as coronavirus-related demand destruction caused prices in Europe and Asia to collapse and buyers to cancel cargoes.

Over the past month, other U.S. export plants have stepped up to supply more of the super-cooled fuel, including Cheniere Energy Inc’s Sabine Pass in Louisiana, which has sent out several cargoes since returning from its Hurricane Laura shutdown.

Reporting by Scott DiSavino in New York and Valerie Volcovici in Washington; editing by Timothy Gardner

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