November 9, 2017 / 7:06 AM / a year ago

UPDATE 1-Inpex to ship first Ichthys condensate exports in Feb or March - sources

* Inpex to ship 350,000 bbls field condensate in March

* Cargo to be sold in spot market on a CFR basis

* Heavy naphtha forms the bulk of the total oil products yield (Adds comments from Inpex executive starting in paragraph 5.)

By Seng Li Peng and Osamu Tsukimori

PENANG, Malaysia/TOKYO, Nov 9 (Reuters) - Japan’s biggest oil and gas explorer Inpex Corp plans to ship its first cargo of condensate from its Ichthys project offshore Australia in February or March, said two industry sources familiar with the matter.

The Ichthys project will mainly export liquefied natural gas (LNG), but the facility will also produce condensate, an ultra-light form of crude oil, as well as liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), a fuel used largely for cooking and in transport.

Inpex has sent shipping schedules to potential buyers showing loadings for February and March from the project located off the northern coast of Australia, said one of the sources, a trader who received the schedule from Inpex.

Price negotiations for the cargoes will begin in December or January, the source added.

Inpex plans to ship a 350,000-barrel cargo of field condensate in March, said Shigeharu Yajima, Senior Vice President, Global Energy Marketing at Inpex, at a conference in Penang, Malaysia, on Thursday. Field condensate is a type of the light oil extracted from the project’s wells.

The cargo will be sold as a spot parcel on a cost-and-freight (CFR) basis, he said, adding that the company has so far not signed any deals.

The field condensate will yield about 34 percent heavy naphtha, an oil product typically used for petrochemical feedstocks or for gasoline, while light naphtha and LPG will together have a yield of 12 percent, said Yajima.

Ichthys has been plagued by delays and cost overruns and while the project was slated to cost $34 billion, that figure is now closer to $37 billion after Inpex said in 2015 that costs had climbed by about 10 percent.

An Inpex senior executive on Wednesday said Ichthys’ planned launch was end of March next year.

At its peak Ichthys will produce about 8.9 million tonnes per year (tpy) of LNG and about 1.65 million tpy of LPG.

Japan’s Astomos Energy has inked a deal to off take Ichthys’ initial LPG supply and the deal is to be reviewed every year, said Yajima.

The project will also produce 100,000 barrels per day (bpd) of condensate, of which 85,000 bpd would be field condensate and the remaining being plant condensate, or condensate stripped from the field’s natural gas stream.

Inpex holds 62.245 percent of Ichthys, France’s Total 30 percent, with the rest spread amongst Taiwan’s CPC Corp and Japanese utilities Tokyo Gas, Osaka Gas, Kansai Electric, JERA Corp and Toho Gas .

Reporting by Seng Li Peng in PENANG, Malaysia, and Osamu Tsukimori in TOKYO; Editing by Christian Schmollinger

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