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Woodside Agrees to Sell Pluto LNG to Chubu Electric of Japan

Woodside Petroleum Ltd., Australia’s second-largest oil producer, agreed to supply natural gas from its A$15 billion ($13.5 billion) Pluto project in Western Australia to Chubu Electric Power Co. of Japan.

Woodside will sell as much as 1.5 million metric tons of liquefied natural gas over three years to Chubu, Japan’s third-biggest power utility, the Perth-based company said today in a statement. Financial terms weren’t disclosed.

The deal adds to purchases of Australian fuel by Japan, the world’s biggest importer of LNG. Japan has been seeking new energy sources after the country shut reactors following the Fukushima nuclear disaster in 2011. Australia’s government forecasts the nation will surpass Qatar as the world’s largest supplier of LNG later this decade.

Woodside will send gas to Chubu mainly from previously uncommitted Pluto supplies, according to the statement. The Australian company owns 90 percent of Pluto, while Tokyo Gas Co. and Kansai Electric Power Co. each has 5 percent.

Mitsubishi Corp. and Mitsui & Co. earlier this month withdrew from an agreement to buy LNG from Woodside’s proposed Browse LNG venture in Australia after delays to the project. The Japanese companies, which reached a deal in 2012 to buy a 14.7 percent stake in Browse for $2 billion, will continue to work with Woodside to jointly sell LNG from the development to the Asian market, the Australian oil producer said when announcing the withdrawal.

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