Inpex: Ichthys LNG plant hits record in 2023

Japan’s Inpex has shipped record 129 LNG cargoes from its Ichthys export plant in Australia during the last year, 17 cargoes more compared to 2022.

The Japanese firm said in February 2023 that it aims to ship about 132 cargoes of LNG, or 11 per month, from the Ichthys plant in 2023 as part of the company’s plans to boost production about 9.3 mtpa due to debottlenecking.

The plant shipped 11 LNG cargoes in 2018, 104 LNG cargoes in 2019, 122 LNG cargoes in 2020, 117 LNG cargoes in 2021, and 112 LNG cargoes in 2022.

Inpex said on Tuesday in its financial report that the LNG project “maintained stable production operations overall” in 2023 and it confirmed facility capacity enhancements to produce 9.3 mtpa.

The Ichthys LNG terminal shipped 96 LNG cargoes in the January-September period last year. This means that the plant shipped 33 LNG cargoes in the fourth quarter of last year.

Besides LNG, the Ichthys plant also sent 23 plant condensate cargoes, 30 offshore condensate cargoes, and 30 LPG cargoes during 2023, as opposed to 21 onshore, 29 offshore, and 30 LPG cargoes in 2022.

“We have confirmed the enhancement of the facility’s capacity required to produce 9.3 million tons of LNG per year, and will aim to achieve this production volume going forward, through operational safety and enhanced capacity utilization,” a spokesman for Inpex told LNG Prime.

“There are no major maintenance works planned for 2024, and we expect to ship about 11 LNG cargoes per month,” he said.

Inpex also noted in the report that is continuing evaluation of a third Ichthys LNG train, targeting start-up in the 2030s.

The facility at Bladin Point near Darwin has two trains and a nameplate capacity of 8.9 mtpa.

Ichthys LNG is a joint venture between operator Inpex and major partner TotalEnergies.

The company is also buying a small stake in Ichthys LNG from compatriot Tokyo Gas to boost its stake from 66.245 percent to 67.82 percent.

Besides TotalEnergies and Tokyo Gas, other partners in the Ichthys project include Australian units of CPC, Osaka Gas, Kansai Electric Power, Jera, and Toho Gas.

Natural gas arrives to the LNG plant at Bladin Point from the giant Ichthys field offshore Western Australia via an 890 kilometers long export pipeline.

Inpex sent last year the 500th cargo of LNG from its Ichthys terminal since the start of operations in 2018.

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