Ras Laffan Liquefied Gas Co., one of two Qatari producers of the fuel, will shut three of its seven liquefaction plants for maintenance this year, according to three people with knowledge of the work.
The company’s fourth facility, called a train, will halt in April, said one of the people, who declined to be identified because the information is confidential. Train 3 will be shut in September and unit 7 will undergo repairs in November, the person said, adding that the halts will last from three to four weeks. The Doha-based press office at RasGas, a venture between state-run Qatar Petroleum and Exxon Mobil Corp. (XOM:US), didn’t respond to an e-mail sent today and a phone message seeking comment.
LNG shutdowns in Qatar, the world’s largest producer of the fuel, may affect short-term prices for natural gas in markets from the U.K. to Asia. Total maintenance planned for this year in Qatar will affect less than half the capacity halted in 2012, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
Production from train 7, one of the largest in the world with an annual capacity of 7.8 million metric tons of the chilled fuel, is shipped to Exxon, according to the website of International Group of Liquefied Natural Gas Importers. Units 3 and 4 can each produce 4.7 million tons and supply India’s Petronet LNG Ltd. and Spain’s Endesa SA and Italy’s Edison SpA, respectively, according to the Paris-based association.
Qatar started its 14th liquefaction train in 2011, boosting annual capacity to 77 million tons, or more than 25 percent of the world’s total. Work is planned on at least 28.2 million tons of the Persian Gulf nation’s capacity this year, down from 58.7 million in 2012, the data show. There was one unplanned shutdown last year that halted the 7.8 million ton Train 7 at QatarGas4 for 10 days in September.
LNG for delivery to Northeast Asia in four to eight weeks has climbed each week since Oct. 8, rising to $17.50 per million British thermal units on Jan. 7, the highest since June 11, according to assessments by New York-based World Gas Intelligence. Prices climbed to a record $18.40 last May.
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