UPDATE 1-Indonesia LNG exports to fall to 362 cargoes this yr

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JAKARTA, Jan 18 (Reuters) - Indonesian exports of LNG will fall to 362 cargoes this year from 427 in 2010, the country’s oil and gas regulator said on Tuesday.

The figure is based on export commitments from three LNG fields -- ExxonMobil’s Arun LNG, Total’s Bontang LNG and BP’s Tangguh LNG -- said Gde Pradnyana, spokesman for regulator BPMigas.

While he did not give a reason for sharp decline, the world’s number-three LNG exporter after Qatar and Malaysia has been increasing the use of natural gas at home to avoid costly fuel imports and dwindling domestic supply.

“We are still evaluating factors that affect the expected fall in shipments,” Pradnyana told Reuters by phone.

Shipments to Japan, Indonesia’s biggest LNG buyer, are expected to fall to 172 cargoes this year, from 258 last year, BPMigas data shows.

South Korea is expected to take 68 cargoes this year, down from 85 last year.

Tangguh LNG plant in Papua province, operated by BP , is expected to ship 115 cargoes this year, up from 79 in 2010, said Pradnyana.

Shipment of LNG from the Arun LNG plant is expected to drop from 36 cargoes in 2010 to 31 this year, a source at the plant said on August 4, 2010. (Reporting by Alfian; Editing by David Fox)