A leading national security expert has claimed that the recent unexplained explosion at a Texas fuel plant was most likely intentional.
According to Tom Rogan, the mysterious explosion at the Freeport LNG plant on Quintana Island in Texas on June 8 may have been sabotage.
Rogan, the national security writer at the Washington Examiner, makes a compelling case that Russia had the motive, the means, and perhaps the opportunity to sabotage the American liquified natural gas plant.
In a new report, Rogan suggests that Russian hackers may have had something to do with the explosion at the Freeport LNG plant, one of the largest in the world, earlier this month.
The destruction of the plant has been a serious blow for Britain and other areas of Europe.
The plant is a major exporter to those regions, according to The Washington Post.
Europe has become especially dependent on the Texas plant as nations struggle to find alternatives to Russian oil following the invasion of Ukraine.
Europe also gets 40 percent of its natural gas from Russia, with the U.S. being the world’s largest exporter of the commodity.
KHOU said there were reports of rolling thunder stemming from the explosion.
Smoke was seen billowing up from the facility.
There were no injuries, however, according to a company spokeswoman.
Authorities evacuated people near the plant only as a precaution.
Later, only local residents could return, with the area closed to visitors.
A long suspension of the LNG facility’s production could affect world energy prices.
Pressure is expected to mount, especially with the usual summer demand increases.
“The world was already teetering on the edge, so to speak, for global LNG supply-demand,” Alex Munton of Rapidan Energy Group said, according to the Post.
“And the incident at Freeport — I wouldn’t say it pushes the world over the edge — but I think [it’s] a bit closer.”
According to Kevin Book of the ClearView Energy Partners research firm, the invasion of Ukraine and problems in dealing with Russia have put pressure on European gas prices.
Shortly after the explosion, Dutch gas futures jumped nearly 9 percent.
Scandanavia and North Africa also supply Europe with natural gas, but production problems plague the ability of those areas to meet demand, the Post reported.
Previously, Europe used long-term contracts for gas purchases, but, hoping to secure lower prices, it switched to buying on the spot market, aligning it with U.S. practices, Munton said.
LNG is more amenable to spot market sales compared with long-term contract sales made through pipelines, which tend to be dedicated to specific customers.
According to Munton, that works well.
However, he said, “The elephant in the room is: What happens if things fall apart with respect to Russia?”
Pandemic lockdowns have suppressed Chinese demand for LNG.
But that’s changing as the Chinese Communist Party is working to increase domestic production.
Munton predicts a possible increase in LNG demand with reduced supply.
High demand and low supply will, of course, lead to higher prices.
Meanwhile, a hot summer is predicted for this year, creating more energy issues due to power grid problems in Texas and Louisiana.
Also, 2022 has been given a greater than normal risk for hurricanes.
And the Freeport facility, which provides 20 percent of U.S. domestic LNG and loads some 64 billion cubic feet on export tankers each month, is in hurricane country.
“There are always going to be risks when you have a hurricane-prone area that happens to be the site of most industrial activity for a given sector,” Book said.
“Risks are concentrated in the Gulf of Mexico by geography.
“Energy infrastructure is exposed.”