December 6, 2007 / 9:40 PM / 12 years ago

UPDATE 1-Excelerate confirms "exclusive" RWE talks

(Changing dateline, updating with Excelerate response, adding detail)

HOUSTON, Dec 6 (Reuters) - LNG company Excelerate Energy on Thursday confirmed “exclusive conversations” with RWE (RWEG.DE) but declined comment on a report that the German utility is buying a stake in Excelerate.

“We have had exclusive conversations with RWE,” a source at Woodlands, Texas-based Excelerate said, declining to comment further.

RWE also declined comment on the report by industry publication Platts which quoted sources at a conference in Rome saying RWE will buy 50 percent ownership of Excelerate.

RWE earlier this year announced that it would work with Excelerate to develop a facility to import liquefied natural gas (LNG) into Germany at Wilhelmshaven.

Excelerate, owned by Tulsa, Oklahoma, banker-oilman George Kaiser, operates LNG ships and regasification terminals in Great Britain and offshore Louisiana. It is preparing to open another offshore terminal near Boston, Massachusetts.

Excelerate has been rumored to be for sale for more than a year, according to persons familiar with the industry.

LNG is natural gas cooled to minus-260 degrees Fahrenheit (-162 degrees Centigrade) and converted into a liquid for easy hauling. One cubic foot of LNG equals 600 cubic feet of gas. (Reporting by Bruce Nichols; editing by Jim Marshall)

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