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China's CNOOC to buy stake in Australia LNG field-Source
( 2003-10-24 09:58) (Dow Jones News)

The partners in the massive Gorgon liquefied natural gas field off the coast of Western Australia have agreed to sell a 12.5% stake in the field to China's offshore oil operator China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC Ltd.) , a spokesman for the Western Australian government said Friday.

The spokesman for state development minister Clive Brown also said CNOOC will purchase A$30 billion of Gorgon gas if the project proceeds.

Gorgon, which is operated by ChevronTexaco Corp. , is set for export sales in 2008 with a final investment decision due in mid0-2005. The other partners are Royal Dutch/Shell Group and Exxon Mobil Corp. .

CNOOC's deal with the Gorgon partners exceeds the A$25 billion LNG gas deal struck last year between the partners of Australia's North West Shelf project and China. Woodside Petroleum Ltd. is the NW Shelf operator.

The WA government spokesman said the CNOOC deal will be signed in Canberra Friday at about 0200 GMT, coinciding with a visit by Chinese President Hu Jintao.

He said the signing means China will be looking to use Gorgon gas as one of its primary energy sources over the long-term.

An industry source said ChevronTexaco will issue a statement about the Gorgon sales plan on Friday morning.

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