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$40 Billion LNG Project Finally Starts Up

Japan’s largest exploration and production company, Inpex, said on Monday that it had started producing gas at the Ichthys liquefied natural gas (LNG) project, which has cost US$40 billion and has faced delays in its development.

Inpex, the operator of the project with a 62.245-percent operating interest, expects first shipment of products from the project toward the end of the first half of its current fiscal year—April to September.

The produced gas will be gathered within the Central Processing Facility (Ichthys Explorer) where it will be separated into gases and liquids. Then the liquids will be piped to the nearby Floating Production, Storage and Offloading (FPSO) facility—Ichthys Venturer—while the gases will be transported via the 890-kilometer (553-mile) long Gas Export Pipeline (GEP) to the onshore gas liquefaction plant at Darwin in Australia’s Northern Territory.

Around 70 percent of the LNG from the Ichthys project will be bound for Japan—the largest LNG importer in the world.

The planned production volumes at Ichthys will be 8.9 million tons of LNG annually, 1.65 million tons of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) a year, and around 100,000 bpd of condensate at peak production.

Apart from Inpex, the other shareholders in the Ichthys project are France’s Total with a 30-percent participating interest, and the Australian subsidiaries of Japanese utilities.

“The start-up of production on Ichthys is a major achievement. Ichthys will be an important addition to Total’s portfolio in the fast growing LNG market and will also contribute to the Group’s production and cash flow growth in the coming years”, Arnaud Breuillac, President Exploration & Production at Total, said, commenting on the Ichthys start-up.

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Apart from Ichthys, another large-scale LNG project is due to come on stream this year offshore Australia—Shell’s Prelude. Last week, Shell said that its Prelude floating liquefied natural gas (FLNG) facility had arrived in Australian waters.

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