25 Mar 2010

Australia signs $A60bn natural gas deal with China

10:48 am on 25 March 2010

Australia has announced a $60 billion deal to export liquefied natural gas from Queensland to China.

British company BG Group will supply 72 million tonnes of liquefied natural gas over 20 years from its coal seam gas plant in central Queensland, under the deal signed on Wednesday with China National Offshore Oil Corporation.

Gas will be piped from the Surat Basin to Curtis Island near Gladstone.

Australia's Resources and Energy Minister, Martin Ferguson, says the 20-year contract is the biggest in Australian history and will have huge benefits.

"The coal seam methane industry potentially means about $A50 billion in investment over time, tens of billions in exports and tens of thousands of jobs," he told the ABC.

Queensland Premier Anna Bligh says the project will create up to 9,500 jobs.

The deal is due to start in 2014, but is still subject to foreign investment review board and environmental approvals.

If it is approved, BG Gas will invest about $A10 billion to develop the project.