Natural gas prices in the United States plummeted 17 percent on Tuesday after an announcement that fire damage at a Texas gas export terminal would take several more months to repair, blocking large export volumes.
Because Europe has grown increasingly dependent on American liquefied natural gas to replace Russian production, the news sent European natural gas prices higher. Europe’s prices are set regionally, not globally like oil.
When an explosion damaged part of the Freeport LNG terminal on June 8, officials said it would probably take three weeks to return the plant to normal functions. Gas prices, which had more than doubled since last year, dropped modestly.
But on Tuesday, the company announced that hopes for a partial restart in 90 days were not feasible.
“At this time, completion of all necessary repairs and a return to full plant operations is not expected until late 2022,” the company said in a statement.
The plant is responsible for nearly 14 percent of American exports of liquefied natural gas, which is gas supercooled so it can be shipped in tankers.
The temporary closing will add natural gas supplies to the domestic market, bringing some relief to electricity customers.