OPINION AND EDITORIAL
The citizens of Corpus Christi, Texas may be able to breathe a little easier now that social media investigative journalist Denise Matteau has brought attention to liquid natural gas leaks that could destroy the Port of Corpus Christi, Texas. Ms. Matteau is a former Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) officer.
Through the efforts of Denise Matteau, who lives under the main Corpus Christi Bay Bridge and very close to the Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) facility, social media discussion groups have been looking at the safety track record of Cheniere Energy.
It seems Ms. Matteau has served as a catalyst to bring focus on the Sabine Pass leaks.
Sabine Pass terminal is the crown jewel of Cheniere Energy, a Houston company that had a virtual monopoly on U.S. exports of liquefied natural gas, or LNG, until last spring. In November, Cheniere opened a second terminal — eclipsing competitors racing to construct their first sites. The company is in talks to close its third deal with China, worth an estimated $18 billion.
But cracks in Cheniere’s runaway success story have started to show.
Last year gashes up to six feet long opened up in a massive steel storage tank at Sabine Pass, releasing super-chilled LNG that quickly vaporized into a cloud of flammable gas. Federal regulators worried the tank might give way, spilling the remainder of the fuel and setting off an uncontrollable fire. It wasn’t an isolated event: Another tank was leaking gas in 14 different places. Both tanks remain out of service over a year later.
Investigators soon discovered that Cheniere grappled with problems affecting at least four of the five tanks at the terminal over the past decade. And officials at the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, known as PHMSA, have found the company to be less than forthcoming in the ongoing investigation, noting Cheniere’s “reticence to share [its] sense of what might have gone wrong.”
Apparently, Ms. Matteau is concerned about an LNG explosion.
To be continued…
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Port of Corpus Christi Chief Executive Officer Sean Strawbridge flashes a thumbs-up.