Japan's Inpex Sees Ichthys LNG Start-Up By End-May



Japan's Inpex Sees Ichthys LNG Start-Up By End-May
Inpex Corp says it will begin production at its Ichthys liquefied natural gas development in Australia by the end of May.

Reuters

TOKYO, May 10 (Reuters) - Japan's biggest oil and gas explorer, Inpex Corp, said on Thursday it will begin production at its Ichthys liquefied natural gas (LNG) development in Australia by the end of May, the latest start date for a project that has been delayed multiple times.

Trial operations at the project's offshore central processing facility (CPF) will be completed by the end of the month, followed by the first production of gas, Inpex Senior Managing Executive Office Masahiro Murayama told reporters at an earnings press conference.

Asked if that meant first gas production will be achieved by the end of May, Murayama said "yes."

Getting the project going will be a boost for Inpex, which has seen costs for Ichthys blow out to more than $37 billion due to technical difficulties and contractor disputes. It was originally slated to start in 2016.

Murayama said Ichthys will add as much as 24 billion yen ($218.28 million) to Inpex's profit in the second half of the financial year that runs through March 2019. The company said on Thursday it had profit of 40.36 billion yen for the year through March 2018.

At full operation, Ichthys is expected to produce 8.9 million tonnes of LNG a year, along with about 1.7 million tonnes of liquefied petroleum gas and about 100,000 barrels per day of condensate, an ultra-light form of crude oil.

Ichthys will send gas from the CPF through an 890-km (550 mile) pipeline on the Australian mainland near the city of Darwin, where it will be processed into LNG for export.

Inpex holds 62.245 percent of Ichthys, France's Total 30 percent, with the rest spread amongst Taiwan's CPC Corp and Japanese utilities Tokyo Gas, Osaka Gas, Kansai Electric, JERA Corp and Toho Gas.

($1 = 109.9500 yen) (Reporting by Osamu Tsukimori; Writing by Aaron Sheldrick; Editing by Richard Pullin and Christian Schmollinger)



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