Date    5 February 2001
Number  11/01


BHP Limited (BHP), together with other participants in the North West Shelf
Venture, today announced a Letter of Intent (LOI) with Tohoku Electric Co.
Ltd. for the sale and purchase of liquefied natural gas (LNG) from the North
West Shelf (NWS) in Western Australia.

The agreement was signed by the six NWS LNG Sellers and covers the supply
of 0.4 million tonnes of LNG per annum (mtpa) for a long-term period starting
in April 2005.

The parties will now move to finalise a sale and purchase agreement by mid

President BHP Petroleum Philip Aiken said the agreement with Tohoku Electric
represents a further important step in the finalisation of the planned $2.4
billion expansion of the North West Shelf LNG Project covering liquefaction
facilities and a 42-inch trunkline.

"The agreement is especially pleasing since Tohoku Electric is the first new
long-term LNG customer since the inception of the North West Shelf Project
in 1989," he said.

The LOI with Tohoku Electric follows the signing over recent months of LOIs
between the NWS LNG Sellers and Tokyo Gas Co. Ltd, Toho Gas Co. Ltd of Japan,
and Osaka Gas Co. Ltd. of Japan.

It is anticipated that further LOIs will be signed with several other
customers in the coming months. Approval of a final investment decision for
a fourth LNG train, with a capacity of up to 4.2 million tonnes per annum,
will be sought in the first part of calendar year 2001.

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

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Mandy Frostick
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Dr Robert Porter
Vice President Investor Relations
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Francis McAllister
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Houston (North America)
Ph: 1 713  961 8625