Bechtelof the US, which was awarded the $900 million EPC package for the first train, is expected to complete the early works programme by the end of the third quarter. Petrojetand Enppi, affiliates of Egyptian General Petroleum Corporation (EGPC), one of the partners in ELNG, will act as design and construction subcontractors on the programme, which will consist of detailed engineering, procurement of long-lead items and site preparation work (MEED 22:8:02).

Marketing of train 2 output has already reached an advanced stage. ‘We are now in discussions with both US buyers and European buyers for the second train, and expect to have an agreement signed before the end of the third quarter,’ a spokesperson for the UK’s BG Groupsaid on 7 January. BG owns 35.5 per cent of ELNG, as does Edison Internationalof Italy. Gaz de France– the first train offtaker – has a 5 per cent stake in the company, while EGPC and Egyptian Natural Gas Holding Companyeach own 12 per cent. Gas for the second train will come from the BG-operated West Delta Deep Marine concession.

BG also confirmed on 9 January that three local banks had been manadated as lead arrangers for the $150 million domestic loan tranche for train 1. They are Commercial International Bank, Misr International Bank, and National Societe Generale Bank.

The first train at Idku will produce 3.6 million tonnes a year (t/y) of LNG, with first shipments due in the third quarter of 2005. The second train, which is scheduled for first production in mid-2006, is expected to double capacity at the plant. Spain’s Union Fenosais working on a 5 million-t/y LNG project at Damietta, the biggest of its kind in the world. When the first trains of the two LNG projects at Idku and Damietta come on line in 2005, Egypt will become the seventh largest LNG exporter in the world.