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Number: 27/01

BHP Billiton, together with the other participants in the North West Shelf NWS) Venture, today signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Methanex Australia Pty Ltd for the supply of gas to a proposed methanol plant on the Burrup Peninsula, Western Australia.

The agreement was signed by the six NWS Venture participants and involves the supply of 200 terajoules of gas a day over a 25 year period from 2005.

Under the agreement, there is also a provision for the NWS Venture to supply a further 200 terajoules a day should Methanex proceed with plans to double production.

It is intended to convert the Memorandum of Understanding into a gas sales agreement by the end of this year, subject to approval by the BHP Billiton Board.

The proposed Burrup Peninsula plant will be supplied with Australian Feedstock Gas™ from the NWS Venture's existing facilities at Karratha. Australian Feedstock Gas™ is a medium pressure industrial quality natural gas used specifically for projects that require large quantities of gas for downstream processing.

Methanex Australia Pty Ltd is a subsidiary of Methanex Corporation of Canada, which supplies about a quarter of the world’s methanol market and more than 30 per cent of the Asia-Pacific market.

BHP Billiton's equity in the North West Shelf Venture is 16.67 per cent. The other participants are Woodside Energy Ltd (operator - 16.67 per cent); BP Developments Australia Pty Ltd (16.67 per cent); Chevron Australia Pty Ltd (16.67 per cent); Japan Australia LNG (MIMI) Pty Ltd (16.67 per cent); and Shell Development (Australia) Proprietary Limited (16.67 per cent).

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