QatarGas Said to Halt LNG Plant 1 for Maintenance in April

Jan 27, 2014 11:10 am ET

(Adds Asian LNG premium in fourth paragraph.)

Jan. 27 (Bloomberg) -- Qatar Liquefied Gas Co. plans to halt one of its liquefied natural gas plants in April for repairs, according to two people with knowledge of the matter.

The world’s biggest LNG producer will shut train 1 at its Ras Laffan facility during the second half of the month, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the information is confidential. The shutdown will last almost three weeks and extend into May, one of them said. Doha-based QatarGas doesn’t comment on operational matters, a company spokeswoman, who asked not to be identified citing policy, said by e-mail.

The 3.2 million-metric-ton-a-year plant will close after the planned shutdown in March of QatarGas train 7, the two people said. The capacity of the company’s scheduled shutdowns this year matches the 2013 capacity halted for repairs, when trains 3 and 6 shut, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

The main markets for QatarGas 1 are Japan and Spain, according to the company’s website. Asian LNG prices fell 3.1 percent to $18.70 per million British thermal units in the week to Jan. 20 while prices in southwest Europe declined 0.6 percent to $15.75, according to assessments by World Gas Intelligence in New York of cargoes for delivery in four to eight weeks. The premium paid by Asia over Europe narrowed to $2.70 the week ended Jan. 6, the smallest since May.

QatarGas will raise the volume of contracted LNG exports to Europe by the most in five years this year after signing supply accords with Germany’s EON SE, Centrica Plc of the U.K. and Petroliam Nasional Bhd’s U.K. unit last year.

QatarGas’s train 1 is one of three liquefaction plants commissioned in 1996, making them the oldest in the country. Train 7 can produce 7.8 million tons a year of LNG, making it the biggest by capacity along with five other plants in Qatar.

Ras Laffan Liquefied Natural Gas Co., another Qatari supplier of the fuel, plans to shut four of its seven units for maintenance this year, two people with direct knowledge of the work said last month. Train 1 and 2 will halt in April, train 5 will shut from May to June and train 6 will close in November.

--Editors: Rob Verdonck, Dan Weeks