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Japan's Inpex keeps end-May commissioning for Ichthys LNG project

The Ichthys LNG project in Australia has imported its cool-down cargo andis on track for commissioning in May, a spokeswoman for Japan's Inpex said.

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Inpex has a 62.245% stake in the $37 billion Ichthys LNG project whichhas been delayed several times. The project has an LNG production capacity of8.9 million mt/year and market participants expect its ramp-up to have asignificant impact on market prices and volumes.

Ichthys LNG was initially scheduled to receive its cool down cargo onApril 26, S&P Global Platts previously reported.

"Cool down" refers to cooling the tanks and pipes beforehand in order tosmoothly proceed with the start-up and it is a common procedure in starting upnew LNG plants, Inpex said.

"A cargo was imported in order to cool down the onshore processing plantfacility using liquefied natural gas (LNG) prior to the start-up of thefacility," the spokeswoman said. "In May, the project is scheduled to complete the commissioning requiredfor production start-up at the central processing facility (Ichthys Explorer)and subsequently will commence production from the wellhead," she added.

Thereafter, the project will begin production and shipment of condensate,LNG and liquefied petroleum gas in sequence, Inpex said.

"Liquefied natural gas cargos will be shipped out in 2018. Specifictimings will be determined on weather conditions and the sequence ofproduction start-up activities going forward," the company added. Apart from Inpex, Total holds a 30% stake in Ichthys, while the remaining7.755% stake is held separately by CPC, Tokyo Gas, Osaka Gas, Kansai Electric,JERA and Toho Gas.

-- Eric Yep, eric.yep@spglobal.com

-- Edited by Norazlina Jumaat, norazlina.jumaat@spglobal.com