UPDATE 1-Morocco preparing tender for $4.5 bln LNG project - minister

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MARRAKESH, Morocco, Oct 1 (Reuters) - Morocco is preparing to invite bids for a liquefied natural gas (LNG) project in Jorf Lasfar worth $4.5 billion, Energy Minister Aziz Rabbah said on Monday.

Speaking on the sidelines of an energy conference in Marrakesh, he declined to give details.

Last year, Moroccan state-owned power utility ONEE said it had picked HSBC Middle East Ltd as financial adviser for its plan to boost imports of LNG.

The project includes the import of up to 7 billion cubic metres of gas by 2025, and the construction of a jetty, terminal, pipelines and gas-fired power plants, officials have said.

Morocco, a net energy importer, aims to diversify fuel supplies and reduce its dependence on foreign oil and coal.

Jorf Lasfar, where the terminal will be built, is situated on the Atlantic coast near where state-run phosphate company OCP and Abu Dhabi National Energy Co (TAQA) have facilities.

Reporting by Ahmed ElJechtimi and Ulf Laessing; Editing by Dale Hudson