US giant ConocoPhillips has wrapped up its US$1.64 billion acquisition of an additional 10% stake in the Australia Pacific liquefied natural gas (APLNG) project in Queensland, Australia.

ConocoPhillips confirmed on Thursday that its Australian subsidiary had completed the acquisition, taking its stake in the largest LNG export project on Australia’s east coast to 47.5%.

The US major first revealed it was upping its stake in APLNG last year by exercising a pre-emption right to purchase up to a further 10% equity in the project from Australia’s Origin Energy for US$1.64 billion.

Origin had originally agreed to sell the 10% share to US-based institutional investor EIG for an equity purchase price of US$1.59 billion.

ConocoPhillips said on Thursday that after customary closing adjustments, the cash it paid for the additional interest was roughly US$1.4 billion, adding the acquisition was funded from cash on the company’s balance sheet.

“We are pleased to acquire this additional stake in APLNG, which throughout its six years of operations has served as a reliable and efficient supplier of natural gas to the growing Asia Pacific market, and to Australia’s East Coast gas market,” said ConocoPhillips chief executive Ryan Lance.

“With the global energy transition underway, we expect LNG to play an increasingly important role, as it is lower in greenhouse gas emissions intensity than other alternatives.

“At the same time, this strategic acquisition of an additional shareholding interest in APLNG further diversifies our product mix while lowering our aggregate decline rate.”

In a separate statement on Friday, Origin chief executive Frank Calabria said: “We are pleased to complete the sale of a 10% interest in Australia Pacific LNG, enabling Origin to both crystallise some of the value in this world-class asset and strengthen our balance sheet at a time we are seeking to lead Australia’s energy transition towards net zero emissions.

“We will continue to work with our partners to support Australia Pacific LNG’s strong performance, as it helps to meet the needs of both LNG and domestic customers on Australia’s east coast.”

ConocoPhillips' share of output from APLNG last year was about 113,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day, with full-year financial distributions totalling roughly US$750 million.

Based on a full-year average Brent price of $78 per barrel, the company expects about US$1.8 billion of distributions from APLNG this year, with roughly US$500 million expected in the first quarter.

The APLNG joint venture claims to be Australia’s largest coalbed methane producer, supplying gas to both the domestic market as well as international markets via its 9 million tonne per annum LNG export facility on Curtis Island, near Gladstone.

With ConocoPhillips' stake APLNG now standing at 47.5%, Origin’s interest has reduced to 27.5%, while China’s Sinopec holds the remaining 25% equity.