TOTAL said that the Yemen LNG plant started producing liquefied natural gas on Thursday, with its first cargo set to set sail in the coming weeks.
The Yemen LNG plant started producing liquefied natural gas on Thursday, with its first cargo set to set sail in the coming weeks, French oil major and lead-shareholder Total SA (TOT) said.
The first cargo is allocated to South Korea's Korea Gas Corp. (036460.SE), a Total spokeswoman said. She declined to say how big it will be, but said the typical capacity of the cargo ships is between 140,000 and 150,000 cubic meters.
The total production capacity of Yemen LNG will reach 6.7 million metric tons of LNG per year, Total said. However, the plant has started production from just one of two LNG units, called trains, while the construction of the second train is being completed.
LNG from Yemen LNG will be exported to both the Asian and Atlantic markets, Total said, noting three gas sales agreements signed in 2005: with Total itself, with Kogas and with Total's fellow French energy giant GDF Suez SA (GSZ.FR).
Total holds a 39.62% interest in Yemen LNG alongside Yemen Gas Co., which has 16.73%. Hunt Oil Co. has 17.22%, SK Energy Co. Ltd. (096770.SE) has 9.55%, Kogas has 6%, Hyundai Corp. (011760.SE) holds 5.88%, and the Yemen General Authority for Social Security and Pensions has 5%.
The first production from the site underscores Total's ambitions in LNG. Yves-Louis Darricarrere, Total's head of exploration and production, called Yemen LNG an "important milestone in the fulfilment of Total's objective to reinforce the group's position as a leading LNG producer."
In a recent strategy presentation, Total Chief Executive Christophe de Margerie said 2010 will be a "good year" for production, and expressed confidence that the company will be able to put disappointment over its recent output performance behind it.
The Yemen LNG project, which will have required an overall $4.5 billion in investment, is the most important investment ever made in Yemen, Total said.
It brings in gas from central Yemen through a 320 kilometer-long dedicated pipeline to the LNG plant located at the port of Balhaf on the southern coast of the country.