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CAIRO: Royal Dutch Shell aims to increase liquefied natural gas (LNG) exports from Egypt this year as it ramps up production from a West Delta field, the company's country chairman Gasser Hanter said on Tuesday.

The company shipped 12 LNG cargoes from the Idku plant last year and is "hoping for more" this year, Hanter told reporters in Cairo, adding that the West Delta Deep Marine field Phase 9B project should be completed by the end of this year.

Shell was among companies that on Tuesday won new exploration rights in Egypt. It secured five of 12 concessions offered in a bidding round, according to results announced by Petroleum Minister Tarek El Molla.

"The blocks we won today complement the picture for us," Gasser said, explainung that it targeted blocks near the company's existing infrastructure to help it to monetise volumes more quickly.

"We are equally focused on onshore and offshore going forward," Gasser added.

He said current output at the Idku gas liquefaction plant is about 200-300 million cubic feet per day, which is not enough to run both trains at the facility.

An LNG train cools natural gas into liquid form to allow its transportation on tanker vessels to destinations not linked by pipelines.

Idku has capacity of about 1.2 billion cubic feet/day, Gasser said.

Copyright Reuters, 2019