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Buru-Mitsubishi JV Secures 25-Year Tenure over Canning Superbasin Permits

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Japan has secured for itself yet another new liquefied natural gas (LNG) supply source with a State Agreement inked between the Buru-Mitsubishi Corp. Joint Venture and Western Australia's State Government concerning five permits that lie on the onshore Canning Superbasin.

The contract signed is Western Australia's first ever State Agreement covering onshore exploration. It extends the JV's tenure on permits EP 71, 391, 428, 431 and 436 by 25 years, and gives the JV a 25-year extension option.

The State Government said in a statement that the deal "will facilitate the continued exploration for natural gas in the remote Canning Basin, the development of a gas pipeline to the Pilbara and ensure Western Australian customers have first use of any gas discovered."

The State Government's disclosure added that the gas can be exported once "domestic gas production is ensured and delivery occurs."

Buru said in a separate statement that the agreement provides a framework for the development of a project to deliver gas to an LNG facility in the Pilbara, once sufficient gas has been identified to sustain domestic consumption. The JV is required to submit a proposal for the development of a domestic gas project and pipeline by June 30, 2016.

According to a published report release by the U.S. Energy Information Administration, the Canning Superbasin contains unconventional gas resources at around 229 trillion cubic feet; one and a half times Western Australia's currently identified offshore resources.

The five permits cover the core of Buru's most prospective acreage, encompassing the Valhalla and Yullero gas accumulations and the Ungani oil trend. These areas are expected to be a key focus for the JV's exploration, appraisal and development program over the coming years, according to Buru.

Mitsubishi Corp. is currently involved in another high-profile natural gas project in Australia. The joint venture MIMI – formed by Mitsubishi Corp. and Mitsui & Co. – had formalized with Woodside its purchase for a 16 percent interest in the East Browse joint venture and 8 percent stake in the West Browse joint venture on Sept. 18. The agreement included a long-term sales and purchase agreement for around 1.5 million tonnes of LNG per year from the Browse development project. 

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