Houston-based Cameron LNG's export facility in Louisiana leaked supercooled liquefied natural gas just one day after it began production for the first time, but the company didn't report the incident and now is slated to pay a fine.
Cameron LNG is expected to pay $41,600 to the U.S. Department of Transportation Pipeline and Hazardous Material Safety Administration after it failed to notify the federal agency of leaks at its Hackberry export facility.
"We take safety and compliance very seriously and our excellent safety and environmental protection track record at Cameron LNG is a testament to that commitment," the company said in a statement. "We will be working closely with the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration office to resolve the matter."
Cameron LNG has been building the $10 billion facility in Hackberry for several years and began producing liquefied natural gas on May 14.
Federal inspectors visited the Hackberry LNG facility on May 20 and issued a notice of a violation and possible civil penalty in late July.
Companies are required to notify the Pipeline and Hazardous Material Safety Administration if there are any incidents no more than one hour after it is discovered.
Cameron LNG released some LNG from a flanged joint connection during startup operations in May but also before it began operations in January.
In January, Cameron LNG operators noticed there was an intermittent LNG leak from pipes in the plant, the agency said. Again on May 15, employees saw LNG dripping near an isolation valve of unit 1. It was not immediately clear how much LNG was released since the documentation was not filed.
The company didn't consider the incident significant and therefore didn't report it, the federal agency said.
The maximum penalty per violation per day is $213,268 for no more than $2.1 million total. The company has 30 days to respond or request a hearing before the final order.
Cameron LNG is jointly owned by affiliates of Sempra LNG, Total, Mitsui & Co. Ltd. and Japan LNG Investment LLC, a joint venture of Mitsubishi Corp. and Nippon Yusen Kabushiki Kaisha. Sempra Energy indirectly owns 50.2% of Cameron LNG.