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$90 billion gas export deal 'biggest ever'

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Australia has signed off on its biggest trade deal ever; a $90 billion agreement to export liquefied natural gas (LNG) to Japan. The contract, signed on the eve of the Copenhagen climate change conference, comes as Asian countries scramble to secure long-term supplies of the low-emissions fuel. US oil giant Chevron announced on the weekend it would deliver 4.1 million tons of LNG from its Wheatstone project off the coast of Western Australia to Japan's largest utility, Tokyo Electric Power Co, each year for up to 20 years. The parties did not disclose the total dollar value of the agreement, but experts estimate it at $90 billion. That tops the nation's previous biggest export agreement, ExxonMobil's $50 billion contract to supply LNG to China from the massive Gorgon field, also in WA, unveiled just in August this year. Resources and Energy Minister Martin Ferguson has predicted the investments will transform Australia into an "energy superpower".

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