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Mon 13 Jul 2009 02:59 PM

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RasGas and Exxon Mobil to produce LNG within weeks

Qatar's RasGas 6 is progressing normally and expected to begin production soon.

Qatar and Exxon Mobil expect to begin producing liquefied natural gas (LNG) from a new facility in Qatar within weeks, a spokesperson at LNG producer RasGas said on Monday.

Qatar is already the world's largest LNG exporter, and expects to double annual capacity this year to 62 million tonnes through the start up of four huge new LNG production facilities.

"We anticipate the first production of LNG to occur within the next few weeks," the spokesperson said in a statement e-mailed to Reuters. "The commissioning of train 6 is progressing normally."

LNG is gas super-chilled to liquid form for export in specially designed tankers. The gas is processed and chilled at facilities known as trains.

The new train is RasGas' sixth. The design capacity of the train is 7.8 million tonnes per year. The company expects to start train 7 in late 2009. Both trains six and seven were expected to export LNG to Asia and the United States.

State-run Qatar Petroleum owns 70 percent of RasGas train 6, while Exxon Mobil owns the remaining 30 percent.

Qatar has two LNG producers, RasGas and Qatargas. Both are majority owned by Qatar Petroleum.

Qatargas said last month it expected first LNG from its train 5, also with annual production capacity of 7.8 million tonnes, within weeks.

The company started its train 4 in April, again with capacity of 7.8 million tonnes. The trains are the largest in the world. (Reuters)

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