PRIME Minister John Howard has rejected resource company pressure to renegotiate their prices for supplying Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) to China, telling Chinese officials that Australians honour their commitments.
Some of the investors involved in supplying gas to the Guangdong Dapeng LNG Company, a $25 billion project, want to negotiate higher prices following rises in the crude oil price.
Oil has risen from $US25 ($34) a barrel to more than $US70 ($96) since the ALNG deal was struck in 2002.
The BP-led Indonesian Tangguh project recently negotiated a rise from $US25 ($34) a barrel to $US38 ($60) a barrel for its LNG.
But the Australian contract has no price escalation clause, giving them no room to move.
Mr Howard spoke at the ceremonial opening of the LNG terminal at Dapeng, in the southern province of Guangdong and assured Chinese officials that Australia would honour the deal.
“Australia is a stable, reliable, competitive supplier of energy,” Mr Howard told an audience of more than 400 people.
”We deliver our commodities on time, we deliver them safely and we deliver them according to the pre-arranged and agreed price.”
Mr Howard said Australia was fortunate to be blessed with abundant energy resources, which were high in demand in developing countries.
“Providence has given Australia remarkable possession of energy resources,” he said.
“We are a country which is ready and willing to deal with those resources in a sensible, competitive way with the growing appetites of many countries around the world because their industrial expansion to acquire the energy resources that we have on offer.
“And no country fits that decision more completely of course than China.”
Mr Howard said China's economic growth had been impressive, even breathtaking, over recent years.
Australia wanted to see China reaching out to an increasingly globalised world, he said.
“The world has much to benefit from a fully and openly engaged China and we welcome without any trepidation the economic involvement in China in the growth and improvement of living standards in our own region,” he said.
Mr Howard described the opening of the terminal as a momentous occasion in Australia's economic relationship with China.
The LNG deal is the single largest trade deal in Australia's history. ( The Australian
This story is from CRI news.com.au network /Source: AAP/By Maria Hawthorne in Dapeng, China)