BG Group's Dragon liquefied natural gas (LNG) import terminal in Wales will be commissioned by mid-2009, Malaysia's state oil firm Petronas, a key shareholder of the facility, said on Tuesday.
Dragon LNG -- a joint venture in which BG has a 50 percent stake, Petronas has a stake of 30 percent and Netherland's 4Gas holds 20 percent, had originally been scheduled to open last year, before winter.
"We are looking at the middle of this year for the Dragon terminal to be commissioned," Ezhar Yazid Jafaar, a Petronas senior manager of strategic business planning in the gas business, told Reuters at an industry conference.
"The delay was due to problems with contractors. We had to renegotiate some aspects," he added, but declined to say what those aspects were.
The facility, aimed largely at keeping Britain well supplied with heating fuel during peak winter demand, is still not ready to take deliveries and BG had earlier said first delivery of LNG would not happen until at least April.
Nearby South Hook import terminal -- a joint venture between Qatar Petroleum , ExxonMobil and France's Total -- was supposed to have completed commissioning last month, with the second phase to be finished later in 2009.
The Dragon terminal has a capacity of 600 million cubic feet per day (mmcfd) while South Hook import facility will have 1,015 mmcfd for each of the phases.
Petronas' Ezhar said the firm's LNG shipments to Britain could come from Bintulu in eastern Sarawak state on the island of Borneo, the only Malaysian source of LNG, and also from other sources. He declined to say how much LNG would be shipped to Britain.
"We are looking at other options, like from the Atlantic basin. We have to remain vigilant about supplies, examine the buyer and seller prices," he said.
As Europe's biggest gas market, Britain is expected to import up to 40 percent of its gas by the end of the decade, rising to 80-90 percent by 2020, analysts say.
Of Britain's 2007 gas consumption of 39.5 billion therms, or 1,000 terawatt hours, industrial and commercial users such as ceramics and chemical sectors, accounted for about 35 percent.
The power sector accounted for 25 percent and households used the remaining 40 percent for heating and cooking.
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