PENANG, Malaysia/TOKYO, Nov 9 (Reuters) - Japan's biggest oil and gas explorer Inpex Corp plans to ship its first cargo of condensate from its Ichthys project offshore Australia in February or March, two industry sources familiar with the matter said this week.
The Ichthys will mainly export liquefied natural gas (LNG), but the facility will also produce condensate, an ultra-light form of crude oil, as well as liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), a fuel used largely for cooking and in transport.
Inpex has sent shipping schedules to potential buyers showing loadings for February and March from the project located off the northern coast of Australia, said one of the sources, a trader who received the schedule from Inpex. Price negotiations for the cargoes will begin in December or January, the source added.
Ichthys has been plagued by delays and cost overruns and while the project was slated to cost $34 billion, that figure is now closer to $37 billion after Inpex said in 2015 that costs had climbed by about 10 percent.
Asked about the timing for the project's first condensate shipments, a company spokeswoman said: "We still cannot give a specific schedule."
An Inpex senior executive on Wednesday said Ichthys' planned launch was end of March next year.
At its peak Ichthys will produce about 8.9 million tonnes per year (tpy) of LNG, about 1.65 million tpy of LPG and about 100,000 barrels per day of condensate.
Inpex holds 62.245 percent of Ichthys, France's Total 30 percent, with the rest spread amongst Taiwan's CPC Corp and Japanese utilities Tokyo Gas, Osaka Gas, Kansai Electric, JERA Corp and Toho Gas . (Reporting by Seng Li Peng in PENANG, Malaysia, and Osamu Tsukimori in TOKYO; Editing by Christian Schmollinger)