Woodside sells gas stake to Japan

AFP-JIJI

Australia’s Woodside Petroleum said Tuesday it had sold a minority stake in its proposed Browse gas export project in Australia to a Japanese consortium for $2 billion.

Woodside is the major equity holder and operator of Browse LNG Development in Western Australia and sold a 14.7 percent interest to Japan Australia LNG, a joint venture of Mitsui and Mitsubishi.

“Browse is a world-class resource and the level of interest shown during this process reflects the strong ongoing demand for LNG,” said Woodside Chief Executive Peter Coleman.

Woodside said it has also struck a long-term sales and purchase deal with the Japanese venture, known as MIMI, for 1.5 million tons per year from the Browse project, subject to completion of the equity sale.

The oil giant said the price was “confidential but is in line with traditional Asian pricing for conventional LNG projects.”

Under the deal, Woodside and MIMI would jointly market LNG from Browse to Asian customers, “primarily” within Japan, and Japanese banks had indicated they would be prepared to help finance the project, Woodside added.

The parties had also entered into a nonbinding memorandum of understanding allowing for “potential collaboration and alliance on other opportunities globally.”

Browse is a joint venture of Woodside, BHP Billiton, BP, Chevron and Shell, and Woodside said its partners would have a period to consider “pre-emption over the sale.”