Australian energy company Santos has sold a 60% stake in three gas fields in Darwin to French energy company GDF Suez as part of the joint venture agreement targeting the expansion of a floating liquefied natural gas (LNG) plant in the Timor Sea.

Santos also has plans to commercialise its Evans Shoal, Barossa and Caldita gas fields in the Bonaparte Basin located off northern Australia, Santos CEO David Knox has announced.

The stake in the Petrel, Tern and Frigate fields has been sold for $200m and the companies would develop a two-million-ton-a-year floating LNG project.

GDF will pay another $170m to Santos once it decides to develop the project apart from bearing the development costs.

Santos will own a 40% stake in the project while GDF will act as the operator.