$22b gas deal in doubt

A $22 billion deal to supply liquefied natural gas from WA’s North West Shelf to Taiwan may be in jeopardy.

The deal is to supply gas to Taiwan’s electricity transmission and distribution monopoly Taipower.

Taipower plans to build a 4,000 megawatt, gas-fired power station in the north of the country and wants to buy 1.8 million tonnes of LNG.

The gas supplier has to be a Taiwan-owned company, according to the tender requirements.

Until recently, a subsidiary of the Tuntex Group was the sole tenderer for the deal.

Australia LNG, a consortium of the North West Shelf Gas project players BP Developments Australia, BHP Petroleum, Chevron Corporation, Japan Australia LNG, Shell Development and Woodside Energy, had a memorandum of understanding to supply LNG to the Tuntex Group.

Before tenders were called, the state-owned China Petroleum Corporation held a monopoly on Taiwan’s gas supply.

The tender process, due to close in July, excluded the CPC from bidding.

However, the process has been held extended to November and the CPC has been allowed to bid.

ALNG president Arthur Dixon said greater competition increased the opportunities for his consortium.

“We’re not directly bidding to Taipower – we will try to sell gas to whoever wins the contract,” Mr Dixon said.

“There is no evidence the CPC is proposing to bid directly.

“Part of the deal is the successful tenderer must build a LNG receival facility in Taiwan’s north.”

The CPC already has a LNG receival facility in Taiwan’s south.

There may be US involvement in the tendering arrangement.

The Taiwanese are keen to gain US missile defence and early warning systems and it is thought the tender delay has been sought to allow US-owned firms into the process.

Mr Dixon said even the US involvement should not preclude ALNG from selling its gas to the successful tenderer.

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