U.S. oil firm Chevron has agreed to sell nearly 3 million tonnes a year of liquefied natural gas from its Gorgon project in Australia, paving the way for a final investment decision in coming weeks.
Chevron said on Thursday it would sell Osaka Gas 1.375 million tonnes of LNG a year over 25 years, and Tokyo Gas 1.1 million tonnes. GS Caltex in South Korea will buy 0.5 million tonnes for up to 20 years.
Under the agreement, Chevron will also sell an equity share of 1.25 percent in the Gorgon project to Osaka Gas and another 1 percent to Tokyo Gas, reducing Chevron's stake to 47.75 percent.
Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd said separately on Thursday that the deals would be worth more than A$70 billion ($60 billion) of exports over 25 years.
Chevron did not disclose the financial details of the LNG and equity sales. It said it expected further Gorgon LNG sales in coming months.
The $42 billion Gorgon project is awaiting a final investment decision from Chevron and its partners, which is expected by the middle of this month.
ExxonMobil Corp and Royal Dutch Shell each hold a 25 percent stake in the Gorgon project, which has a proposed capacity of 15 million tonnes per year.
Last month ExxonMobil agreed to sell Chinese state-owned company PetroChina 2.25 million tonnes of gas from Gorgon, worth $50 billion over 20 years, the biggest resources deal in Australia's history.
($1=1.163 Australian Dollar)
(Reporting by Fayen Wong and Rob Taylor; Editing by Jonathan Standing)