10/01/2012 - 14:40

Taiwan signs up for LNG from Ichthys

10/01/2012 - 14:40


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Taiwan signs up for LNG from Ichthys

The Ichthys liquefied natural gas (LNG) project, which will develop gas reserves off WA's northern coast, has moved closer to a final go-ahead after the partners finalised three new sales agreements today.

The new agreements mean the total LNG output from the planned project, of 8.4 mtpa, is now sold.

The sales agreements include the first binding sales contract with Taiwan, opening up a new market for LNG exports.

Taiwan's CPC Corporation and Japanese companies Chubu Electric Power and Toho Gas signed agreements with Japanese company INPEX and French company Total on Tuesday in Melbourne.

They build on existing offtake agreements totalling four million tonnes a year involving five major Japanese gas utilities.

Resources Minister Martin Ferguson says Tuesday's announcement adds another dimension, with the first binding long-term sales contract for the supply of Australian LNG to Taiwan.

"This is a major step forward for the Australian LNG industry in opening up a new market," Mr Ferguson said in a speech in Melbourne.

"It will complement our existing and highly valued customers in Asia - Japan in particular."

It was important to increase the levels of safe, dependable energy to promote economic growth in Asia and contribute to a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, Mr Ferguson said.

"Australian LNG can supply that energy.

"Today, we add Taiwan to the list of countries that will be powering their economies with clean, safe and reliable Australian LNG."

Japan is Australia's oldest, largest and most valuable LNG trading partner, accounting for about 70 per cent of Australian LNG exports.

Chubu Electric and Toho gas have contracts with projects in the North West Shelf and Gorgon, off Western Australia, and supply gas to more than 18 million customers in Japan.

The proposed Ichthys project, tipped to cost $30 billion, will be the single biggest investment in an Australian resources project by a Japanese company and the first LNG project operated by a Japanese company in the world.

In partnership with Total, which plans the largest investment in Australia by any French company, it will boost Australia's LNG export capacity to more than 80 million tonnes a year and has the potential to boost Australia to the position of the world's largest LNG exporter.

"I look forward to an announcement of a final investment decision from the Ichthys joint venture to move this project to the development stage," Mr Ferguson said.

The project uses gas reserves in the Browse Basin, offshore from Broome, which will be piped to a new LNG plant at Darwin.



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