PetroChina, the listed arm of China National Petroleum Corp, is near to closing a deal with ExxonMobil to buy liquified natural gas (LNG) from offshore Western Australia after sharp falls in gas prices, the South China Morning Post reported. ExxonMobil would sell 2 million tons of LNG a year for 20 to 25 years from its 25%-held Gorgon gas field in Western Australia. The deal should ease the supply shortage in Beijing’s gas market, as well as feed several of the country’s planned LNG-receiving terminals, which have been delayed due to the lack of an affordable supply. If the deal is signed, it will follow PetroChina’s 2007 deal with Royal Dutch/Shell to buy 2 million tons from that company’s Gorgon gas holdings. PetroChina also signed a preliminary agreement in April 2008 to buy 3 million tons of LNG annually from Qatar for 25 years, and another in September 2007 to buy 2-3 million tons a year from the Browse gas field being developed by Australia’s Woodside Energy for 15-20 years, starting in 2013-2015.