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LNG Ltd., Chinese Partner Study Projects Outside Australia

Dec. 18 (Bloomberg) -- Liquefied Natural Gas Ltd., backed by China National Petroleum Corp., is considering LNG projects outside Australia after estimating that its Queensland state venture would cost less than half that of other plants.

The Fisherman’s Landing project is expected to cost $1.7 billion and produce 3.8 million metric tons of LNG a year, the Perth-based company said today in a statement. That’s a cost of $450 per ton of annual output, or less than half the cost being reported for other LNG projects in Australia, it said.

“That provides us with increased confidence to look at other opportunities outside Australia,” Managing Director Maurice Brand said today in a phone interview. “I would prefer those opportunities are pursued jointly with our partner,” he said, declining to discuss any specific plans.

LNG Ltd., about 20 percent-owned by CNPC unit China Huanqiu Contracting & Engineering Corp., is planning to reach a decision on whether to go ahead with the project next year. CNPC unit PetroChina Co. earlier this year acquired Molopo Energy Ltd.’s coal-bed methane holdings in Australia for A$43.4 million ($46 million) and agreed to feed the gas to LNG Ltd.’s venture.

Shares of LNG Ltd. rose 6.7 percent to 32 Australian cents in Sydney trading, the most in two months, while Australia’s benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index gained 0.5 percent.

BG Group Plc, Santos Ltd. and Origin Energy Ltd. are building larger LNG ventures on the Queensland coast.

To contact the reporter on this story: James Paton in Sydney at jpaton4@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Andrew Hobbs at ahobbs4@bloomberg.net

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