PetroChina is to buy 2.25 million tons a year of liquefied natural gas from ExxonMobil’s part of the Gorgon gas field off Australia’s northwest coast (Release). The 20-year deal is valued at $41 billion and shows the growing economic ties between China and Australia despite the current political tensions over the Rio Four spying case and Uighur activist Rebiya Kadeer’s forthcoming visit to Australia that prompted Beijing to cancel a senior minister’s trip to Canberra. “China needs us, we need China,” Trade Minister Simon Crean said after the signing in Beijing of he largest-ever trade deal between the two countries.
The deal tops the 1.5 million tons a year of LNG India said it would buy from the still-to-be-developed Gorgon field last week. Chevron and Shell are the other energy majors involved. Gorgon is still awaiting final environmental clearance from Canberra, though these deals suggest that will be a formality, to the chagrin of Australian greens.
China is building more than 10 LNG terminals on the east coast to meet a five-year target to double its use of natural gas by 2010. PetroChina will open its first LNG terminal in Jiangsu in April 2011, and has plans to build another in Dalian and a third in Tangshan.