Yemen’s first liquefied natural gas (LNG) project will start commercial production before the end of September, said Christophe de Margerie, chief executive officer (CEO) of French energy giant Total.

“Yemen LNG will start up in a matter of days,” he said on 16 September.

The $4.5bn project has been hit by technical delays and wrangling with Yemen’s government over the allocation of gas.

The company now says commercial production will start in September.

“We said it would start in September and there is no change to that,” says a Total spokesman.

Yemen LNG is a multinational joint venture of French and South Korean companies, and the Yemeni government. The development will produce 6.7 million tonnes a year (t/y) of gas at Marib, central Yemen, which it will liquefy and export from the Balhaf terminal in the south of the country. Exports were originally scheduled to start between late 2008 or early 2009.