WA deals continue to flow

Western Australia’s petroleum resources and expertise have continued to spawn new deals with foreign partners over recent weeks.

Less than two weeks after the announcement of the North West Shelf LNG venture’s potential $25 billion deal with China’s Guangdong province, TAFE international WA scored a $50 million training contract with Qatar in the Arabian Gulf.

This week Taiwan’s largest corporation Chinese Petroleum Corporation was in Perth, officially adding Australian petroleum assets once again to its investment register.

In the 1980s, Chinese Petroleum went exploring in the Gippsland Basin, but in 1993 closed its Sydney office and withdrew from Australia.

Now, following investments in Venezuela, Ecuador and In-donesia, and after a period of strategic review, Chinese Petro-leum, through subsidiary Over-seas Petroleum Investment Com-pany Australia, has determined the north west of WA as a target area.

The corporation with a 16,000-strong workforce, has budgeted $500 million for petroleum exploration over the next five years, and intends to set up an Australian office.

"There is a lot of work ahead, but we are hoping for good results, soon, to increase our investment in Australia," Chinese Petroleum Corporation president Pan Wen-yen said.

OPIC Australia signed with Norwest Energy, Eagle Bay Resources, West Oil and Daytona Energy at this week’s Australia-Taiwan Business Council annual meeting, to take a 25 per cent stake in the deepwater AC/P32 in the Ashmore-Cartier area of the Timor Sea.

Looking to become a major oil producer, Chinese Petroleum has also nominated AC/P32 operator Norwest as a scout for further regional opportunities.

Taiwan imports all of its gas consumption and 80 per cent of its crude oil demand, and Chinese Petroleum takes 10,000 barrels of condensate per day from the North West Shelf.

Both the North West Shelf joint venture and ChevronTexaco’s Gorgon project are looking to supply LNG to Taiwan.

While a long-term LNG supply contract will be on offer for Taiwan Power Company’s Tatan power plant, expected to be com-missioned in 2008, Taiwan also imports uranium for three nuclear power plants, and is in the market for supply to a fourth such plant.

Meanwhile, another delegation was in town last week, this one from the Chinese city Shiyan, in Hubei province, and looking to do business with a different sector.

Local government, university and hospital officials from Shiyan were meeting with the WA Government and others to initiate talks on proposals for collaborative health care services and training.

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