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Development

Australian Firms Win $101b China Gas Contract

[WTN-L World Tibet Network News. Published by The Canada Tibet Committee. Issue ID: 02/08/10; August 10, 2002.]

ERIC NG
South China Morning Post
Friday, August 9, 2002

Beijing has awarded an Australian venture a 25-year, US$13 billion (HK$101 billion) contract to supply gas to China's first liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal, in what Prime Minister John Howard described as his country's largest single export deal.

The decision - a surprise to many energy analysts - came after Mr Howard was criticised by human rights activists for refusing to meet Tibet's exiled spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, when he visited Canberra in May.

In the early part of the Dalai Lama's visit, Mr Howard was in Beijing lobbying to sell LNG to China, which is the most important emerging gas market in the world as it seeks to replace petroleum-based fuels with cleaner fuels such as LNG.

Mr Howard said he was advised by Premier Zhu Rongji of China's decision to select the Australian venture as the sole supplier of LNG to Guangdong province. The winning consortium comprises Australian firms and Australia units of global oil giants including Britain's oil and gas giant BP.

Beijing's decision surprised analysts who earlier tipped BP as the front-runner given its gas price was thought to be the lowest of the three finalists.

Other analysts had speculated BP might be "punished" for withdrawing its bid for China's US$17 billion west-east natural gas supply project.

Despite losing the Guangdong bid, BP is tipped to win a contract to supply gas to a planned second LNG terminal in Fujian.


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