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Australia’s North-West Shelf gas project 2 bln aud expansion approved – report

AFX Europe (Focus): Australia’s North-West Shelf gas project 2 bln aud expansion approved – report

9 June 2005

SYDNEY (AFX) – The partners in Australia’s massive North West Shelf gas project have approved a 2 bln aud expansion to exploit soaring demand for liquefied natural gas from customers in China and Japan, The Australian Financial Review reported without citing sources.

It said official confirmation of the expansion is expected within days and is timed to allow the project partners, led by Woodside Petroleum, to retain the bulk of the workforce from an earlier 2.9 billion aud expansion.

The newspaper said the decision by the North West Shelf operator Woodside, about one-third owned by Shell, and its five partners to proceed with the fifth gas processing unit will lift capacity by 25 pct.

It said the “train five” expansion will raise LNG output to 16 mln metric tons a year and will take an estimated 38 months to complete.

The newspaper said the 2 billion aud cost of the LNG expansion will be borne equally by the six founding partners, Woodside, Shell, BP PLC, BHP Billiton, ChevronTexaco Corp and MIMI, a partnership between Japan’s Mitsui and Mitsubishi corporations.

The China National Offshore Oil Company (CNOOC), which acquired a 10 pct stake in the project last year, is expected to pay its pro-rata share of the capital costs of the project.

(1 usd = 1.31 aud)

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