Woodside Energy Group has expressed its willingness to engage in talks with Chinese firms for a potential investment in Scarborough liquefied natural gas (LNG) project, reported Reuters.

Woodside Chief Executive Meg O’Neill added that the Australian oil and gas company has begun discussions with several potential customers about purchasing LNG from the $12bn project.

“At this point in time, we are not talking to any Chinese prospective partners, but we would welcome the opportunity to bring a partner in,” the company chief was quoted as saying on the sidelines of the Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association industry conference.

“I have said for a while that we want a quality counterparty who recognises the value of Scarborough and pays us a fair price, and there is plenty of Chinese companies that certainly meet the criteria of a quality counterparty.”

As of April, the proposed Scarborough plant was 30% complete and it is said to be Woodside’s largest growth project.

Earlier, the company said that it aims to start the production of LNG by 2026 for both the Scarborough and Pluto Train 2 projects.

Commenting on it other project, Browse LNG, O’Neill stated that the company is confident about it, despite Shell’s decision to exit.

“There is still a very strong appetite for Browse LNG,” she added, as gas from the project is rich and ideal for the Japanese market.

“The Japanese market is quite interested and remains very interested in Browse gas. US LNG is quite lean, and so it is not as good a fit for their system.”

Natural gas that is described as “rich” has a larger calorific value than lean gas, which has a lower calorific value.

In late April, BP agreed to buy Shell’s stake in 27% stake in the Browse project, which is anticipated to cost $20.5bn.

If the sale goes through, BP will have a 44% share in Browse, surpassing operator Woodside, which has a 30.3% stake.