The North West Shelf Venture’s first term-contract LNG cargo to Korea Gas Corporation (Kogas) has set sail from Withnell Bay near Karratha in Western Australia.

The cargo has been loaded on board the Energy Frontier, currently under charter from Tokyo LNG Tanker Co. Ltd. with a capacity of 145,000 cubic metres it is the largest LNG ship in the world.

According to the venture, the cargo is the first under its seven-year contract with Kogas. From 2004, the venture will supply 500,000 tonnes of LNG a year to the South Korean gas utility under a sale and purchase agreement signed on March 8, 2003 by Kogas and the North West Shelf LNG Sellers. All cargoes will be delivered on an ex-ship basis.

In a statement, North West Shelf Australia LNG President John Banner said the cargo marked an important milestone for the Venture as a supplier of LNG to multiple markets.

“The North West Shelf has built an enviable reputation with its customers over the past 14 years as a reliable and cost-effective producer and supplier of LNG,” Mr Banner said.

“We have supplied several spot cargoes to Kogas over the years and today we extend our relationship. The North West Shelf is poised for growth and we look forward to a long and lasting relationship with Kogas.”

North West Shelf Australia LNG is the marketing organisation for the North West Shelf Venture and markets LNG in South Korea as Australia LNG.

The six equal participants in the venture are Woodside Energy Ltd (Operator), BHP Billiton Petroleum (North West Shelf) Pty Ltd, BP Developments Australia Pty Ltd, ChevronTexaco Australia Pty Ltd, Japan Australia LNG (MIMI) Pty Ltd and Shell Development (Australia) Proprietary Limited.