Total increases stake in Ichthys LNG project

Total SA has increased its interest in the Ichthys LNG project off northwest Australia to 30% from 24%. The 6% comes from Inpex’s stake in the project, and will help the Japanese firm reduce its debt burden as it negotiates financing for its share in the project’s construction.

The move demonstrates the French firm’s confidence in the project, says Total Exploration & Production Pres. Yves-Louis Darricarrere. The stake increase, worth an estimated $2 billion (Aus.), also enhances Total’s presence in Australia and its position as a supplier to the Asian LNG market. In addition, the higher stake is in line with Total’s overall strategy to become a leading LNG player in the world.

The Ichthys project, operated by Inpex, will produce an 12.8 tcf of gas and a substantial volume of condensate during its life. Condensate will be separated out at the central processing platform and sent to a floating storage facility for direct marketing.

Dry gas will be transported via an 889-km subsea pipeline to the LNG plant on Darwin Harbor with the capacity to produce 8.4 million tonnes/year of LNG. First gas is slated for 2016.

Total will take 900,000 tpy of LNG from the project.

The company’s increased stake does not affect any LNG offtake agreements, however the deal is still subject to Australian Foreign Investment Review Board approval.

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