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Kuwait to Resume LNG Imports

Source: KUNA 1/25/2011, Location: Middle East

Kuwait is expected to resume its seasonal liquefied natural gas (LNG) imports in mid-March, commencing earlier than the previous year, Abdullatif Al-Houti, state-run Kuwait Petroleum Corporation (KPC) Managing Director of International Marketing, said.

"One of the new milestones for this summer is that the Ministry of Electricity and Water seeks increased LNG imports for domestic electricity-generating this season and the next three years," Al-Houti said in an interview with Kuwait News Agency (KUNA) in Tokyo. The official is currently on a three-nation Asia tour that has also taken him to South Korea and Taiwan.

"The ministry asked us to import LNG between mid-March and mid-November this year, compared with last year's April-October period," he said. In response to the request, KPC will need to purchase additional 10-14 LNG cargoes for power generation during summer, said Al-Houti, adding that Kuwait last year imported 550 million cubic feet per day of gas in some 33 cargoes. Additional LNG imports will enable KPC to increase surplus of gasoil and other products available for sale, which will lead to greater revenue for the Kuwaiti government. The corporation saved almost USD 300 million for the government last year with the energy operation, he said. "We are currently reviewing whether to buy additional LNG from our present contracts or from the spot market, depends on the price they offer." Kuwait imported its first LNG cargo September 2009. KPC signed a four-year LNG supply contract in 2010 with Royal Dutch Shell and energy trader Vitol from April through October till 2013.

Asmaa Al-Qallaf, International Marketing Manager for Planning and Marketing who accompanied Al-Houti, said that KPC's five-year plan (2016-2020) and long term strategic plan through 2030 will include key New Refinery Project, in which state refiner Kuwait National Petroleum Co. (KNPC), at Al-Zour plant, is expected to boost fuel oil output for the Ministry of Electricity and Water.

Meanwhile, under its "2030 Plan" that encompasses expanding and diversifying KPC's activities, the corporation will also decide where to allocate its products in the next 15 to 20 years by reviewing regional supply demand. "To enhance marketing of our hydrocarbons throughout the world, in coordination with Kuwait Petroleum International (KPI) under the Market Support Project, we are looking at potential projects globally and even inside Kuwait, in which we can market any additional products that will be produced by KNPC's refineries," Al-Qallaf said.

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