Kuwait to build LNG regas terminal, import gas

Eric Watkins
Senior Correspondent

LOS ANGELES, May 8 -- The Kuwait government, faced with domestic demand growth exceeding its own supplies of natural gas, has signed a $150 million contract with Excelerate Energy, The Woodlands, Tex., to build a regasification terminal at Ahmadi port by April 2009.

"This move came in response to the rising demand of gas and other energy sources by the Ministry of Electricity during summer time as the current volume of gas production in Kuwait does not meet the minimum needs of the power generating sector," said the Kuwait National Petroleum Co.

The country especially needs more gas for power generation during the peak period of electricity demand in the summer, when the country often suffers from blackouts. It plans to begin importing LNG before the summer of 2009 to defray any shortfall.

In February Kuwait announced plans for the construction of facilities that would allow the import of 500-700 MMcfd of gas. At the moment, Kuwaiti officials are in talks with Qatar for the supply of LNG for the facility.

Last month, Excelerate took delivery of the advanced-technology Explorer LNG regasification vessel under a 25-year time charter. The ship was ordered in 2005 and built by Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering Co. Ltd. of South Korea.

Excelerate and Exmar NV of Belgium own the vessel through a joint venture company in which each company owns a 50% equity interest. Exmar ShipManagement NV of Belgium will be the ship's technical manager.

The ship has a cargo capacity of 150,900 cu m, is 291 m in length, and has a deadweight tonnage of 82,500 tonnes.

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