A SMALL crowd of onlookers gathered on Auckland Point on Monday afternoon to watch LNG tanker Methane Rita Andrea leave Gladstone harbour.

The world-first shipment of liquefied natural gas to be processed from coal seam gas left just on 3pm, bound for Singapore.

Onlookers watch the first shipment of LNG leave the QCLNG project on Curtis Island, Gladstone.
Onlookers watch the first shipment of LNG leave the QCLNG project on Curtis Island, Gladstone. Mike Richards

As the fully laden Methane Rita Andrea pushed off from the QCLNG wharf, a QGC spokesman was quick to dispel rumours that processing problems or contamination had held up the commissioning process.

"There is no foundation to the rumours. The time was spent testing all the systems before the vessel was loaded," she said.

"We really had no idea how long that testing process was going to take."

A second LNG ship, Methane Mickie Harper, is now sitting at Fairway Buoy - and due to dock at the wharf later this week to take on the second load to leave the plant.

Methane Rita Andrea LNG tanker leaves Gladstone harbour with the first shipment of LNG from Curtis Island.
Methane Rita Andrea LNG tanker leaves Gladstone harbour with the first shipment of LNG from Curtis Island. Mike Richards

At plateau production, which is expected to be reached in 2016, QCLNG will have an output of around 8 million tonnes of LNG each year.

Alasdair Cathcart, the global LNG general manager for Bechtel, the company responsible for the construction of all three processing plants on Curtis Island, said building three multi-train LNG projects side-by-side simultaneously on an island would be listed as one of Bechtel's greatest achievements in its 116-year history, when completed in 2016.

MONDAY 3PM: The first ever shipment of liquefied natural gas to be processed from coal seams is currently leaving Gladstone harbour.

Methane Rita Andrea was pushed off the QCLNG dock around 3pm and will make its way to Singapore with its valuable cargo.

The ship arrived in Gladstone on December 26 and has remained at the QCLNG wharf while commissioning of the loading dock was completed.



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