UPDATE 1-Venture Global LNG can start new units at LNG plant, says FERC

(Recasts top, rewrites throughout with background, details of dispute between Venture Global and its foundation customers)By Curtis WilliamsHOUSTON, Oct 26 (Reuters) - The U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) on Thursday agreed to a revised commissioning plan for Venture Global LNG's Calcasieu Pass facility, allowing it to turn on three processing trains while work on faulty power equipment continues.The FERC decision supports Venture Global LNG's argument that it cannot start full commercial operations because it has reliability issues, said Alex Munton, director of global gas & LNG research at consulting group, Rapidan Energy.Venture Global has said its faulty power issues prevent complete commissioning of Calcasieu Pass to make it ready to operate commercially, a view not shared by its foundation customers. Venture Global and the foundation customers have been in a legal dispute over its failure to deliver cargoes from the facility to them."FERC is saying the facility is approved to operate at full capacity while commissioning remains ongoing on other plants. It aligns with Venture Global's desire to delay the start of commercial operations," said Munton.Venture Global LNG is involved in contract arbitration with customers Shell, BP, Edison and Repsol that separately seeks to force the company to supply them cargoes or pay financial penalties."We agree with the modified commissioning plan that no longer bundles" the newer liquefaction trains with the faulty power and other portions of the Louisiana plant, FERC said.Shell was pleased with the FERC decision to put the additional processing trains into operation, because it showed the facility is able to operate at or above capacity without the power equipment, said Shell's spokesman Curtis Smith."Venture Global should immediately begin deliveries to its foundational customers," said Smith.Their support "provided the agreements needed to secure the financing and construction of the facility," he said.Story continuesVenture Global started gas processing at its Calcasieu Pass facility in March 2022 and has delivered at least 200 cargoes - which it says are "pre-commissioning cargoes" - through September, according to a Reuters tally.But the company has not provided cargoes to its contract customers, insisting the facility is not fully commissioned.Venture Global's original commissioning plan included three phases. The third phase involves starting up liquefaction trains 7-9, pre-treatment systems and power generation, according to the FERC document said. The revised plan splits the last three trains from the other systems in the commissioning process.Commissioning activities so far have shown the liquefaction facilities can operate above the authorized nameplate capacity and near the maximum capacity, despite the heat recovery steam generator tube leaks affecting the plant, FERC said."We will continue to work closely with our regulators as we progress the remaining work and commissioning activities needed to complete the facility," said Venture Global LNG spokesperson Shaylyn Hynes. (Reporting by Curtis Williams in Houston and Ashitha Shivaprasad in Bengaluru; Editing by Tom Hogue)