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Queensland company signs major deal

MELBOURNE, Australia (Radio Australia, Sept. 14, 2010) - The premier of the Australian state of Queensland has signed a multi-billion dollar agreement with the Papua New Guinea (PNG) government to connect the state with a hydro-power pipeline from Papua New Guinea.

The two governments, in cooperation with energy firm Origin and PNG Energy Developments, will support the development of the Purari Hydro Resource in PNG's Gulf province.

[PIR editor’s note: The project is to collect electricity generated by a river dam in Papua New Guinea and transfer it via undersea cable to Townsville, in Australia’s Queensland (See story). According to its website, Origin Energy "is a major Australasian integrated energy company involved in gas and oil exploration and production, energy retailing and power generation."]

The Queensland government says the project will create thousands of jobs and provide renewable power to PNG, as well as feed into Australia's national electricity market.

Queensland premier Anna Bligh has told parliament the project could provide huge amounts of green energy to Queensland by 2020.

She says for the scheme to be viable PNG needs a 'baseload' customer for the power.

"Under this partnership, Queensland looks to become that base load customer," she said.

"Put simply what that means is that if it is successful this project will be a massive win/win for PNG and Queensland opening up new opportunities for all of us."

Origin Energy says the project has the potential to open up vast employment and economic opportunities.

Managing director, Grant King, says it will also help Australia meet its carbon emission goals at a reasonable cost.

He says it will be the first project to deliver year-round base load renewable energy to Australia.

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