Angola on target to export LNG in June

25 April 2012, Sweetcrude, LUANDA – Angola says it is on target to commence liquefied natural gas (LNG) export in late June.

This would be preceded by shipping tests next month.

Oil minister Jose Botelho de Vasconcelos, who disclosed this, said Angola was targeting non-US buyers in Europe and Asia where prices are higher, with its LNG.

The minister said the schedule for the LNG export would be unaffected by plans by French oil major Total to cut output at its Girassol platform in June for maintenance works nor will it affect government’s target to produce an average of 1.8 million barrels of crude per day this year.

The 5.2-million-tonnes-per-annum Angola LNG project is led by Angola’s state-owned oil company, Sonangol, which has a 22.8% stake and Chevron, which holds 36.4%. Eni, Total and BP each hold a 13.6% stake.

The plant, built in Soyo in northern Angola at an estimated cost of $10 billion, was initially set to start exporting in the first quarter.

“The project is practically in its final phase and we now see the forecast date (for regular shipments) in the third quarter, towards the end of June,” De Vasconcelos told reporters in parliament, according to Reuters.

He added that a shipping test would be conducted next month and the plant officially inaugurated in June.

Angola LNG’s plans to turn its focus away from US buyers occurs in the wake of a rapid increase in US shale gas production brought about by new drilling and extraction technologies, De Vasconcelos said.

He said while the price of gas in the US market is hovering around $2 per million British thermal units, in Europe it sells for between $6 and $8, and at around $13 in Asia.

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