Atlantic waits on Train 4

Start-up woes: at Atlantic LNG

Atlantic LNG's newest liquefied natural gas processing train has not been functioning at full capacity this year because of start-up problems and a shortage of gas, the company's new chief executive said today.

Oscar Prieto said Train 4, the largest processing train in the world, was processing as much gas as was available.

"We expect to have it on commercial operations early next year," said Prieto, who previously headed BG Egypt.

The train, which began operations a year ago, contributed $700 million of the $4 billion worth of LNG exports from Trinidad & Tobago in 2006.

"So it is not that it hasn't been in operation. It has not been in commercial operation fully loaded," Prieto told Reuters. He said the train had very seldom been able to operate at full capacity.

Atlantic LNG is a joint venture between state-owned National Gas Company, UK supermajor BP, BG Group, Spain's Repsol and French company Cabot, whose shareholding has been bought by French utility Suez.

Prieto met shareholder representatives this week to review the train's operation. The group found nothing is structurally wrong with the train.

"As soon as we have all the gas together we will be able to operate at full rate," he said. "The situation is going to be absolutely normal when we go into commercial operations."

Prieto claimed similar start-up problems were normal with all LNG trains.

Running at full capacity, Atlantic LNG's four trains will produce close to 15 million tonnes per year. Train 4, which cost $1.2 billion, has a production capacity of 5.2 million tonnes per year. Atlantic has invested a total of $3.6 billion in building the four trains.

Atlantic LNG ships LNG to the US, Spain, the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico.


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