| CHIBA, Japan, April 4
CHIBA, Japan, April 4 Inpex Corp's $37
billion Ichthys Australian liquefied natural gas (LNG) project
will start shipping ultra-light crude known as condensate by
end-2017 and LNG shipments next year, one of the partners in the
development told Reuters on Tuesday.
The comments from Total Chairman and CEO Patrick
Pouyanne suggest further slippage in a project that has in
recent months been hit by subcontractor disputes.
The shipment schedule, however, did not represent more
delays in a project that was originally scheduled to start
operating by the end of last year, Pouyanne said.
"We always said by year-end. You have two things. You have
the gas production upstream and then it takes time. We have to
fill the pipeline and then start the train," he said, referring
to LNG production units, known as trains in industry parlance.
Condensate shipments will start by the end of this year,
while "LNG (cargoes) will be more in the beginning of 2018."
This would appear to be a delay from a statement on Inpex's
website that says production is now expected to start in the
third quarter of 2017. An Inpex spokesman contacted by Reuters
said the published schedule is unchanged.
Pouyanne said the subcontractor disputes were not holding up
the start-up and that such issues are common to large projects.
The central processing facility will set sail from a South
Korean shipyard "soon", he said.
Most of the LNG plants being built in Australia, including
Chevron's huge Gorgon facility and Royal Dutch Shell's
floating Prelude production vessel, are having trouble
keeping within budget and on schedule. More delays are expected.
Once completed, Ichthys is set to produce 8.9 million tonnes
of LNG per year and about 100,000 barrels per day of condensate
at its peak.
Inpex holds 62.245 percent of Ichthys and Total 30 percent.
The rest is spread amongst Taiwan's CPC Corp and
Japanese utilities Tokyo Gas, Osaka Gas,
Kansai Electric, JERA Corp and Toho Gas.
(Reporting by Aaron Sheldrick; Additional reporting by Osamu
Tsukimori; Editing by Tom Hogue)