Quick turnaround for an LNG customer

When Cheniere Energy planned its original regasification plant on the Gulf of Mexico, the United States was one of the world’s largest importers of natural gas. Booming gas output from the country's shale formations subsequently turned that market around.

Together with Cheniere, Bechtel built and expanded Cheniere’s Sabine Pass LNG receiving terminal between 2005 and 2009 and added liquefaction capability in 2016 so that the terminal’s existing storage tanks, berths, and pipelines could be used for LNG exports.

In September 2022, Sabine Pass Liquefaction (SPL) became the first terminal in the world able to accommodate three LNG tankers simultaneously.

About the project

This 1,000+ acre facility contains six liquefaction units, or trains, with a total capacity of ~30 million tonnes per annum.

The first two LNG trains were completed in 2016. Trains 3 and 4 were completed in 2017 and Train 5 in 2019. The sixth train and third berth at SPL were completed in 2022 ahead of schedule and within budget.

The operating facility at a glance:

  • Six trains with total capacity of ~30 million tonnes per annum
  • Five storage tanks each capable of holding 3.4 billion cubic feet of LNG
  • Three LNG tanker berths

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From shore to ship

After building Cheniere’s receiving terminal on the shores of the Sabine River estuary, Bechtel constructed the facility’s six production trains. This conversion to a bidirectional facility allows our customer to liquefy and export U.S natural gas or regasify foreign-sourced LNG, depending on market conditions.

No rain checks, no excuses, no delays

The completion of Phase 1 of the Sabine Pass LNG terminal was an extraordinary accomplishment.

Shortly after work began in 2005, Hurricane Katrina nearly destroyed nearby New Orleans and contributed to a severe shortage of craft labor throughout the U.S. Gulf Coast. The project later took direct hits from five more tropical storms or hurricanes, including Hurricane Rita, which further devastated the area but did not affect the facility.

Cheniere, Bechtel, and their suppliers worked around the weather events and kept the job on its original schedule. That success earned us a contract in 2006 to expand on our original work. In September 2008, foul weather, that time Hurricane Ike, hit Phase 2. While the installed facilities were mostly untouched, our team’s decisive action minimized damage to materials awaiting installation and kept the work on track.

Training for the (re)building trades

Following Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005, Bechtel and other Business Roundtable member companies formed the Gulf Coast Workforce Development Initiative as a public-private partnership to help meet demand for skilled construction workers.

Owners, contractors, labor organizations, community colleges, and government agencies recruited and equipped nearly 20,000 workers with construction trade and basic safety skills. The training helped local people rebuild the region and embark on lasting careers.

Partners in progress

Cheniere and Bechtel have worked together for more than 15 years. To date, we have completed nine LNG trains between Cheniere's two Gulf Coast facilities. All nine trains were completed ahead of schedule and within project budgets.