May 26, 2008 / 2:20 PM / in 10 years

Iran aims to export first LNG in late 2010

ABU DHABI, May 26 (Reuters) - Iran plans to export its first liquefied natural gas in late 2010, possibly to some European countries and China, a senior official of Iran LNG said on Monday.

Construction of the country’s first LNG plant began at Tombak in south Pars over a year ago.

“The Iran LNG plant has two trains, the first train will be ready by end of 2010 and that is when the first shipment will be made,” M.K. Shahroudi, commercial deputy managing director at Iran LNG told Reuters on the sidelines of a project finance conference.

“We are in negotiations with several companies in several countries. Mostly, our LNG exports could go to Europe and China. It depends on negotiations,” he said, adding that initially 2.5 million tonnes of LNG will be exported, rising to 10.8 million tonnes within one year.

The second train is due for completion in 2011.

Two other LNG projects, the Pars LNG and Persian LNG where France’s Total (TOTF.PA) and Royal Dutch Shell (RDSa.L) respectively had stakes, are on hold due to “certain issues” he said without elaborating.

Shell pulled out of Phase 13 of the giant South Pars gas field project this month after coming under pressure not to participate from U.S. lawmakers concerned about Iran’s nuclear programme. It said it may join at later stages of the project known as Persian LNG.

Total has said it expected no decision on the South Pars gas field in the short term but was interested in the country in the long term.

Iran has said it wants Total to commit to the deal by the middle of this year, while the French government, which is concerned about Iran’s nuclear programme, has urged Total not to invest.

“Iran LNG is moving ahead and Iran does not need gas, we have enough, so everything will be exported,” he said.

Each of the two Iran LNG trains, will have a capacity of 5.4 million tonnes per year, he said. The plant is being built by a consortium of Iranian and foreign companies, he said, declining to name the companies.

“We have several companies involved in this project because we have split the project into six packages.”

Reporting by Stanley Carvalho

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