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CANBERRA, Australia (June 24, 1998 - PACNEWS)---A power station at Townsville in North Queensland plans to buy gas from the Papua New Guinea Southern Highlands.

The decision by the Stanwell/Destec power station is a boost to the developers of the $US 2.5 billion PNG to Australia gas pipeline project.

There are reports that an accord has already been signed and a contract will be finalized soon.

The partners in the PNG Gas Project are now holding talks with international banks to secure funding for the venture, which is expected to start next year. They include the American-owned operator Chevron Services Australia Pty. Ltd., BHP, Mitsubishi Oil, Mobil, Oil Search, Orogen, and the PNG landowner group MRDC.

A consortium comprising the Australian Gas Light Company Ltd. and the Malaysian state-owned oil company, Petronas, was named last month as the preferred builder of the Australian sector of the pipeline, which will start offshore in the Torres Strait and go overland to the industrial port city of Gladstone.

The work should be completed by mid to late 2001, creating some 1,600 jobs.

There are reports that AGL-Petronas is interested in options to take the gas into the Brisbane and New South Wales markets using the existing pipeline infrastructure.

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