THE CENTRAL processing facility for the Ichthys LNG project has been launched from an offshore floating dock at the Samsung Heavy Industries shipyard in Geoje, South Korea, where it is being constructed.

Ichthys project managing director Louis Bon said the floating operations for the launch were completed in two days congratulating contractor teams working on the project.

“The CPF is now berthed quayside at the shipyard where work is continuing to lift and install the living quarters and integrate and commission all equipment in preparation for the CPF’s sail away,” he said.

“All teams are working together in a very efficient manner to achieve our next targets.”

Once completed, the CPF will be towed 5,600 kilometres from Korean waters to the Ichthys field, in the Browse basin offshore Western Australia.

INPEX president firector Australia Seiya Ito said the successful launch was one of the Project’s most significant achievements.

“This milestone is a clear demonstration that the Ichthys LNG project is making good progress and that we are working in an excellent spirit of cooperation with our Korean contractors,” he said.

News of the launch comes after INPEX announced it expected production from the facility would commence in the third quarter of 2017 – rather than at the end of December 2016 as originally planned.

INPEX said any increase in costs for the investment would be limited to about 10 per cent, with costs to be covered by company funds and external loans as planned.

However, total production from the facility will be 6 per cent higher, at 8.9 million tonnes of LNG per year, up from the initially planned 8.4 million tonnes.

This increase in production capacity is based on the company’s recent technical evaluation of the latest technological information pertaining to its LNG production system, INPEX said.