According to The Australian Financial Review today, the US engineering firm building the LNG plants at Gladstone, Queensland Australia has declared that it expects to complete three more LNG trains at the sites by the end of the year, quadrupling Queensland's LNG production and giving birth to a new major industry for the state.
Privately owned Bechtel confirmed it should complete construction of the first production units at the Santos GLNG project and at the Origin Energy Australia Pacific LNG venture, as well as the second train of the BG Group project, which already has one train in operation.
The timing given by Bechtel appears to confirm the schedules signalled by the three individual ventures. Both GLNG and APLNG have signalled a likely start-up of their first production in the September quarter.
The plants are the world's first to produce LNG for export using gas extracted from coal seams.
"The projects will begin producing LNG in rapid succession over the second half of 2015," Bechtel's global LNG general manager Alasdair Cathcart said in a statement on Tuesday.
The higher-than-expected costs to bring the three ventures into production have exacerbated worries about the impact the rout in crude oil prices will have on the profitability of the projects, given the prices for their LNG sales contracts are directly tied to oil prices.
Bechtel construction teams at GLNG and APLNG recently reached the milestone of introducing gas into the LNG plants, and started to generate their own power as part of the commissioning process for the first production trains at the respective sites.
The second production trains at GLNG and APLNG are expected to begin production in early 2016.
LNG from the three projects will be sent to China, Japan, South Korea, Malaysia and elsewhere in Asia.
Once all six trains are operational, the three projects on Curtis Island will produce about 25 million tonnes of LNG, enough to power a city the size of Tokyo with 13 million people.
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