The opening of the Golden Pass liquefied natural gas terminal in the United States will likely be delayed by hurricane damage, while Britain's South Hook LNG terminal now looks set to open in early 2009, an executive from ExxonMobil said on Thursday.
"There has been some damage and there is more likely than not to be a delay ... it's just not clear how long that will be," ExxonMobil's president of LNG market development, Tom Cordano, said of the Golden Pass project in Texas which had been expected to be completed in mid-2009.
He could not say whether the hurricane damage sustained earlier this year would push the start up into 2010.
"The team is working very hard to assess that damage and the impact it is going to have on the schedule," he said on the sidelines of a conference in Barcelona.
The South Hook terminal in Wales -- joint venture between Qatar Petroleum, Exxon and France's Total -- had been expected to open the first half of this year but Exxon said in May it would likely be the second half of 2008 before it would start taking cargoes of the super-cooled gas.
"Our sense right now is early 2009," Cordano said when asked when the South Hook facility was now likely to open.
Britain has two functioning LNG import facilities but more are being built to help meet growing demand for imported gas as Britain's own production declines.
South Hook and BG Group's nearby Dragon LNG terminal, which had also been scheduled to open before this winter but has not yet started taking cargoes, are seen as key to keeping Britain well supplied with heating fuel during peak winter demand days.
The Golden Pass terminal near Sabine Pass is expected to be 70 percent owned by Qatar Petroleum, with ExxonMobil and ConocoPhillips each owning a share of the rest, according to the terminal website.
LNG for the terminal in Texas is expected to come mainly from Qatar's Ras Laffan 3 and Qatargas 3 projects.
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