Petronas starts construction of floating LNG facility for Argentina

(Reuters) - Malaysia's state energy firm Petronas has begun the construction of a floating LNG processing unit to be placed off the coast of Argentina, which aims to begin exports by 2027, a senior executive told Reuters on Tuesday.

The first unit planned for Argentina will be able to produce up to 2 MMtpy of the superchilled gas, said Petronas Senior Vice President of LNG Abang Yusuf.

"The floating LNG project is progressing good and we expect to start that (floating unit) by 2027", he told Reuters on the sidelines of CERAWeek by S&P Global energy conference in Houston.

Petronas eventually could expand the operation to produce up to 9 MTPA from a total of three floating LNG facilities off the South American country's coast.

Petronas also has a separate project with Argentina's state-controlled energy firm YPF YPFD.BA to build an LNG facility on land.

The two companies have begun the front-end engineering and design (FEED) study for the second project in Argentina that is expected to produce another 20 MTPA. That second project would allow Petronas to export as much as 30 MTPA of Argentine gas, he said.

"We have done a lot of studies with our partner YPF ... the next step is to mature the project, but we are now waiting for the new investment law," said Abang Yusuf.

Petronas also is considering new investments in the Atlantic Basin for its liquefied natural gas (LNG) business, he said.

The executive also told the CERAWeek conference in Houston that Petronas is aiming to increase its share of the global LNG market to 10%, but there is no set timeframe to achieve that goal, he said.

Petronas separately is looking at taking an equity stake in the second phase of LNG Canada's gas-export plant in Kitimat, British Columbia, on the west coast of Canada, he said. The plant's first phase is scheduled to start producing chilled gas in the second half of the year.

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