June 22, 2009 / 1:33 PM / 11 years ago

UPDATE 2-Cameron LNG terminal receives first cargo Sunday

(Adds detail on second cargo, background)

NEW YORK, June 22 (Reuters) - Sempra Energy’s (SRE.N) Cameron LNG import terminal in Louisiana received its inaugural cargo of liquefied natural gas on Sunday, the first of two test cargoes expected this month.

The British Diamond LNG tanker transported 136,500 cubic meters of LNG to the terminal from Trinidad, Sempra said in a statement late Sunday, and AISLive ship tracker on Reuters showed that a second tanker was on the way.

These Sempra-bought volumes are expected to be enough to cool down the terminal before commercial deliveries can begin next month.

“The cargo’s arrival represents just the beginning of the $900 million project’s start-up process, a process that is expected to require a few weeks to complete,” Sempra said of the first cargo’s arrival. “Cameron LNG is expected to be commercially operational in July.”

This first cargo had been anchored off the Louisiana coast for more than a week while final preparations were completed at the newly built terminal.

The second cargo, being transported in the 155,000-cubic-meter British Emerald tanker, set sail from Trinidad early on Monday and was seen in the Caribbean Sea, according to AISLive.

Sempra LNG Chief Executive Darcel Hulse said in an interview with Reuters this month that likely only two cargoes would be needed for testing before commercial operations can begin. [ID:nN08321916]

Cameron is also expected to receive super-cooled gas from Qatar, under a short-term agreement signed with Qatar LNG producer RasGas this month.

Under the deal, RasGas will be able to supply up to 50 cargoes of LNG to Cameron on a flexible basis until the end of 2010. Each cargo could contain up to 4.8 billion cubic feet of gas.

The terminal has the capacity to import 1.5 billion cubic feet of gas per day, with the potential to later expand to 2.65 bcf per day. (Reporting by Edward McAllister; Editing by Walter Bagley)

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