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“Iran LNG” project to be signed next month

Source: reuters 5/29/2007, Location: Asia

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Iran expects to sign a multibillion- dollar agreement with a foreign partner next month to produce liquefied natural gas, or LNG, from the South Pars field, the world's biggest gas reservoir. ''We've signed the draft contract with a foreign contractor and the main contract will be signed within the next month,'' Ali Kheir-Andish, the project director, said today on Shana, the oil ministry press agency, without providing the name of the foreign company. The LNG project, called IRAN LNG, will use gas from phase 12 of South Pars, he said.

In April, OMV AG signed a preliminary agreement to develop that phase and build an onshore gas liquefaction plant. Vienna-based OMV said then a final agreement might not be made until the second half of this year.

Iran, the site of the world's second-largest oil and gas reserves, is pushing foreign companies to sign energy agreements quickly, as its international isolation grows over its nuclear program. Total SA and Royal Dutch Shell Plc are studying similar LNG projects in Iran and both companies have delayed decisions, citing the country's geopolitical situation.

''We've said 'second half of this year,' and we're sticking to this deadline,'' OMV's Huemer said. It ''could be'' that Iran is talking to other foreign companies to develop that phase 12, the spokesman said.

Iran LNG is expected to yield 10 million tons of LNG and 700,000 tons of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) a year, Shana said. LNG is gas cooled to liquid form for transport by ship to places not connected by pipelines. LPG is generally used by households for cooking and heating.

In February, as part of the Phase 12 development, Iran awarded a $500 million LNG and LPG storage-tank contract to a group that includes South Korea's Daelim Industrial Co. and the economic arm of Iran's Revolutionary Guards Corps.

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