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Total, Partners to Seek Loans for Yemen LNG Project by March

Source: bloomberg 9/11/2007, Location: Middle East

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Total SA and its partners plan to secure long-term loans for a $3.7 billion liquefied natural gas project in Yemen by March 2008, a year later than scheduled because of delays in securing gas supplies.

The partners have funded 63 percent of the 6.6 million metric ton-a-year project with short-term loans, said Khaled Ishaq, a spokesman for Yemen LNG, 39.6 percent-owned by Total.

The country's first LNG project may help ease a global shortage of the fuel after prices jumped fourfold in the last five years, Jensen Associates Inc. said in an August report.

State-run Safir Co. replaced Hunt as the operator of the field last year, forcing Total and its partners to renegotiate supply agreements. Hunt Oil filed for arbitration last year to regain production rights revoked by Yemeni authorities.

''Satisfactory progress is being made'' in talks with the government to secure supplies from Marib, Ishaq said. Total plans to sign an agreement with Safir for supplies this year, Joel Fort, a general manager at Yemen LNG, said in May.

Yemen LNG may complete the first production line by the end of next year and a second train by June 2009, Ishaq said. A 320- kilometer pipeline, linking the plant in Balhaf with Marib, is 68 percent complete. The Marib field has 9.2 trillion cubic feet of gas reserves.

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