Japan's Inpex Says Ichthys LNG Project a Little Behind Schedule


TOKYO, Aug 7 (Reuters) – Progress on Inpex Corp's $34 billion Ichthys liquefied natural gas (LNG) project in Australia is slightly behind schedule but is still on target to start commercial production by the end of 2016, the company said on Friday.

Ichthys was 74 percent complete as of June, four or five percentage points behind target, but the project was still on budget, Managing Executive Officer Masahiro Murayama told a news conference on its first-quarter earnings.

"It's delayed by about a quarter," he said. "To recover, we have been trying hard, adjusting various schedules and so on."

With a number of new LNG projects coming online, Australia is on track to overtake Qatar as the world's top LNG supplier by the end of the decade.

The Ichthys project, which will produce 8.4 million tonnes of LNG a year, will pipe gas off western Australia to two LNG trains and other infrastructure near the coastal city of Darwin in Australia's Northern Territory.

Inpex, Japan's top oil and gas producer and 19 percent owned by the government, has a stake of more than 62 percent in the project, with Total and several other Asian energy companies among the shareholders.

(Reporting by Osamu Tsukimori; Editing by Alan Raybould)



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