Ras Laffan III LNG Train 6 starts production

By OGJ editors
HOUSTON, Aug. 12
-- Ras Laffan Liquefied Natural Gas Co. Ltd. III has started up Train 6. The project, a joint venture of Qatar Petroleum (70%) and ExxonMobil Ras Laffan (III) Ltd. (30%), expands existing LNG production operated by RasGas Co. Ltd. at Ras Laffan Industrial City, Qatar.

Train 6 can produce 7.8 million tonnes/year, matching the capacity of the largest LNG train in the world, also in Qatar (OGJ Online, Apr. 6, 2009). These plants have “sufficient scale to competitively reach markets all around the globe,” said the announcement. In addition, Ras Laffan III is also building its second 7.8-million-tpy train, Train 7, which the company expects to start up later this year. Both trains will be supplied by natural gas from Qatar's giant North field, with estimated reserves of more than 900 tcf.

Ras Laffan III is part of an investment that includes natural gas production and liquefaction facilities in Qatar and investments by affiliates of Qatar Petroleum and ExxonMobil in 12 new Q-Flex LNG carriers (210,000 cu m) and the Golden Pass LNG regasification terminal under construction near Sabine Pass, Tex.

Golden Pass is a joint venture among affiliates of Qatar Petroleum (70%), ExxonMobil (17.6%), and ConocoPhillips (12.4%). Its planned start-up has slipped to 2010 from 2009, partly in response to market conditions and partly the result of damage sustained in September 2008 from Hurricane Ike (OGJ Online, June 18, 2009; July 31, 2009).

Qatar is the world's largest LNG supplier. Through joint ventures with Qatar Petroleum, ExxonMobil has an interest in 12 trains in Qatar to supply LNG to markets in Asia, Europe, and North America.

Ras Laffan III Train 6 is the second 7.8-million-tpy LNG plant brought online by Qatar Petroleum and ExxonMobil joint ventures this year. Last spring, Qatargas inaugurated its two-train Qatargas 2 project (OGJ, Apr. 13, 2009, p. 10).

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