Santos, Partners Agree to Sell More Gas to Local Australian Market

By Robb M. Stewart Features Dow Jones Newswires

MELBOURNE, Australia--Santos Ltd. (STO.AU) and its partners in a big gas-export plant have agreed to pump more of the fuel into Australia's east-coast market as the country's energy industry scrambles to avoid export curbs.

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The oil-and gas company said that it and the GLNG venture would sell 30 petajoules of natural gas to power companies and other customers over 2018 and 2019, enough to power 330,000 homes over that period. The gas would otherwise have been exported as liquefied natural gas.

It follows a recent move by Santos to deliver up to 72 petajoules of gas over four years into the southeastern market, through a gas-swap deal, and a deal to sell 15 petajoules to the Pelican Point power station in South Australia state.

The company had been working with the federal government and the GLNG partners over the last few months to lift gas supplies to the domestic market, Santos Chief Executive Kevin Gallagher said.

GLNG and two other big LNG plants on the coast of Queensland state have been targeted by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull's government, which earlier this year introduced fresh powers to restrict exports if a gas shortfall looms along the eastern seaboard. Local prices of natural gas have jumped and supplies have been increasingly tight in recent years as the plants have begun producing, shipping volumes of chilled gas to markets in Asia.

"It is further proof of our readiness to work with our partners in responding to market dynamics and meeting local gas demand," Mr. Gallagher said.

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The US$18.5 billion GLNG operation counts France's Total SA (TOT) and Malaysia's Petroliam Nasional Bhd. among its partners, converting methane gas buried in seams of coal into LNG. It sits on Curtis Island in northeast Queensland next to plant led by Royal Dutch Shell PLC (RDSA) and the Australia Pacific LNG project that includes Origin Energy Ltd. (ORG.AU), ConocoPhillips (COP) and Sinopec.

Write to Robb M. Stewart at robb.stewart@wsj.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

September 06, 2017 21:20 ET (01:20 GMT)