Inpex: To Submit Masela Gas Block Development Plan This Year

TOKYO (Dow Jones Newswires), May 14, 2008

Inpex Holdings Inc. (1605.TO) plans to submit its development plan for the offshore Masela gas block in Indonesia, and get approval from the Indonesian government, this year, a company executive said Wednesday.

"We will finish most of the exploration work in the first half of this year. And then, we have to move to a development phase quickly," said Mutsuhisa Fujii, the company's chief financial officer.

He also said the Japanese energy producer is still considering whether to build a floating liquefied natural gas processing terminal for the block.

China's Xinhua News reported earlier on Wednesday that Inpex hasn't yet filed any development plan to the Indonesian government for the block, but plans to build a floating LNG terminal, citing Indonesian media. Should it be built, it would be the first floating LNG terminal for Indonesia, said Xinhua.

Last autumn, Inpex said 2.6 billion cubic feet a day of natural gas output had been confirmed from two test wells in the block. It also said that the natural gas can be sent through a pipeline to facilities at nearby Bontang, where the gas can be processed into LNG.

But the Xinhua report said another option is to send the gas to Australia for processing into LNG, but the Indonesian government favors a floating terminal rather than using the facilities in Australia.

Inpex and French oil major Total S.A. (TOT) each hold 50% stakes in the block, and have been jointly conducting exploration.

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