LNG (LIQUIFIED NATURAL GAS)

Total buys into Ichthys LNG

FRENCH major Total SA has agreed to buy a 24% stake in Inpex's Ichthys liquefied natural gas project in WA 285-P, a permit in the Browse Basin, offshore northwestern Australia.

Total buys into Ichthys LNG

The Ichthys gas field, discovered in 2000, holds an estimated 9.5 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, according to Inpex, a major Japanese petroleum player.

The Ichthys development plan consists of an integrated field/liquefaction facility scheduled to come onstream early in the next decade.

The plant could be built on an isalnd in the Kimberley region or an offshore faciltiy could be set up. Given the Western Australian government's intention to impose gas reservations of up to 20% on LNG projects, it remains to be seen what option will be chosen.

According to a report in The Australian, the federal government is planning a legal move to prevent the state government imposing reservations on gas sourced from Commonwealth waters regardless of whether the gas is processed onshore.

Since early last year, Total has acquired stakes in eight offshore exploration blocks in northwest Australia.

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