By Nidhi Verma
UPDATE1: RasGas eyes supply 1.4mn tonnes of natural gas per year in five-year contract plan.
Qatar's RasGas is in talks with Kuwait Petroleum Corp for a five-year deal to supply liquefied natural gas, and will ship six additional cargoes to India, the firm's managing director said.
"Currently, we are in discussions with Kuwait for a mid-term (LNG supply) contract. It is for summer supplies," Hamad Rashid Al-Mohannadi told Reuters on the sidelines of the Petrotech conference.
He said the deal, in which RasGas may supply 1.4 million tonnes a year, was likely to be finalised soon.
"We expect to begin supplies from the middle of this year and we hope to conclude talks in the first quarter," he said.
Qatar's oil minister, Abdullah al-Attiyah, said energy projects in the world's largest exporter of LNG would not be delayed despite economic uncertainty.
Attiyah said the Ras Laffan ethylene cracker would come online in the middle of 2009.
He said Rasgas 2, Qatar's largest LNG project, would start operations from train 1 in a few weeks and would produce 7.8 million tonnes a year.
LNG production in Qatar, which has the world's third-largest gas reserves, is split between two companies, RasGas and Qatargas, both majority owned by state oil firm Qatar Petroleum.
Mohannadi said Qatar would supply India's Petronet LNG with six additional cargoes this year.