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May 17 (Reuters) - U.S. liquefied natural gas company Freeport LNG has asked federal regulators to extend the amount of time it has to construct a fourth liquefaction train at its export plant in Texas until August 2028.
The U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) approved construction of the fourth train in May 2019, requiring Freeport to finish the train by May 2023, the company said in a filing on Monday.
In September 2020, FERC extended the time Freeport had to build the fourth train until May 2026.
Freeport, however, said it has not started to build Train 4 "due in large part to delays" stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic.
"The impact of the pandemic on the global community has now waned substantially, and global demand for U.S. LNG has rebounded and is projected to remain strong," Freeport said.
The company said it is "actively marketing Train 4 Project capacity to a number of potential off-takers, particularly in European markets, and is in active negotiations with several potential customers."
Freeport also said it is participating in the U.S.-European Commission energy security task force recently announced by U.S. President Joe Biden to assist in getting LNG supplies into Europe.
The United States has committed to supply LNG to Europe to help Washington's allies lessen their reliance on Russian energy following Moscow's invasion of Ukraine.
But since it would take about 48 to 56 months to build Train 4, Freeport said "it is not possible" to meet the current May 2026 in-service deadline.
The three operating trains at Freeport can turn about 2.1 billion cubic feet per day of natural gas into LNG.
Freeport's customers include units of Osaka Gas Co Ltd , JERA, BP Plc, Total SA and SK E&S. JERA is an alliance between Tokyo Electric Power Co Holdings Inc and Chubu Electric Power Co Inc.
(Reporting by Scott DiSavino Editing by Paul Simao)