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HK PRESS (HONG KONG): CNOOC, Gorgon Gas Talks Stall: Tuesday September 13, 12:24 AM

HONG KONG (Dow Jones)--CNOOC Ltd.'s bid to buy a stake in Australia's Gorgon gas project and to import gas from the US$11 billion development into China is stalled, more than two years after the company reached a preliminary agreement, reports The Standard, quoting a CNOOC source.

CNOOC, China's third-largest oil company, in October 2003 signed a preliminary agreement with project partners including Chevron Corp. Royal/Dutch Shell PLC and ExxonMobil Corp. to take a 12.5% stake in Australia's biggest untapped gas deposit and buy A$30 billion worth of fuel.

The talks have been suspended due to the failure to agree on pricing, the timing of gas delivery and the volume of gas sales, said a CNOOC source.

The sellers also "could not come to an agreement on gas markets," the source said.

A Gorgon spokesman denied the talks were suspended, although he said there were some issues waiting to be resolved, including pricing and gas delivery schedule.

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