Algeria's Skikda LNG plant start-up delayed again

Eric Watkins
OGJ Oil Diplomacy Editor

LOS ANGELES, Mar. 13 -- Algeria's Skikda LNG plant will not come online until 2013, 2 years later than its earlier announced completion date, according to Chakib Khelil, Algeria's oil minister.

"It's being built, it's advancing really well," Khelil told Bloomberg News, adding that construction of the plant is about 20% complete and procurement of 70% of materials has been carried out.

Khelil's announcement, which gave no explanation for the delay, marks a change in earlier statements about the plant's projected start-up date.

In January 2008, Khelil told OGJ: "We are building another LNG plant in Skikda, and the contract was awarded to KBR so that will also be ready in 2011 (OGJ Online, Jan. 7, 2008).

Earlier, in April 2006, Khelil said that work on the facility was still under negotiation but he insisted that "the plant in any case will be ready in 2009, as scheduled."

Three of the plant's six trains were destroyed and another one was badly damaged when a boiler in one of the units exploded in January 2004, killing some 23 people and injured nearly 80.

In 2007, KBR said it won an engineering, procurement, and construction contract for the Skikda LNG project, valued at some $2.8 billion.

In addition to performing the EPC work for the 4.5 million tonnnes/year LNG train along with associated LPG and condensate recovery, KBR said it would execute the precommissioning and commissioning portion of the contract.

Contact Eric Watkins at hippalus@yahoo.com.

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