Exxon Mobil to shut Papua New Guinea LNG plant for at least seven days: source

A handout photo shows a damaged pipeline and road located near the township of Tabubil after an earthquake struck Papua New Guinea's Southern Highlands February 26, 2018. Picture taken February 26, 2018. Luke Leo-Star Mountain Local Level Government/Handout via REUTERS

TOKYO (Reuters) - ExxonMobil Corp will shut the Papua New Guinea liquefied natural gas (LNG) plant for at least seven days for inspection for any damage to the facility after an earthquake, said an industry source familiar with the matter who declined to be identified.

In Japan, Osaka Gas and JERA Co, a fuel joint venture between Tokyo Electric Power and Chubu Electric Power, are the buyers of the project’s LNG.

A call to Papua New Guinea LNG’s office in the capital of Port Moresby was answered by a message saying to call back during business hours.

Osaka Gas sees no major impact on LNG procurement from the shutdown of the plant, company President Takehiro Honjo said on Tuesday.

The president of Japan’s Chubu Electric Power Co also saw no major impact on procurement.

“In the Northern Hemisphere, a severe winter period is over, and we do not expect a big impact to follow as a result of the shutdown,” Chubu President Satoru Katsuno told reporters on Tuesday.

Papua New Guinea LNG has been producing at around 20 percent above its rated capacity of 6.9 million tonnes a year.

Asian LNG spot prices remained firm this month amid renewed Japanese purchases and as supply from the United States continued to lag though the peak winter season is over.

Reporting by Osamu Tsukimori; Editing by Christian Schmollinger