France's GDF Suez signs China LNG supply deal
French energy giant GDF Suez on Saturday signed a deal to sell 2.6 million tonnes of liquefied natural gas to China between 2013 and 2016 as the energy-hungry nation steps up gas imports.
The agreement was signed with China's overseas energy firm China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC) in the presence of GDF Suez's chairman, Gerard Mestrallet. No sale price was published.
The contract "represents a major step for our presence in China's energy sector," said Mestrallet.
It comes after GDF Suez made its first LNG delivery to Shanghai in August.
Natural gas still represents a small proportion -- around five percent -- of total energy consumption in China, but demand for the relatively clean fuel is rising rapidly and Beijing is increasingly resorting to LNG imports while building up gas infrastructure.
"This new contract will contribute to energy saving, to reducing carbon dioxide emissions and to developing a low-carbon economy in China," said CNOOC deputy chairman Wang Jiaxiang, who heads the company's gas and power division.
As it seeks to increase its Asian presence, GDF Suez is particularly relying on resources in Australia, where it bought a 60 percent share in three gas fields in the Bonaparte basin in January for 200 million dollars.
GDF Suez's deputy chairman, Jean-Marie Dauger, said: "China will become an important player for the gas industry in the decades to come. That's one of the reasons why the group has decided to develop in Asia."
GDF Suez announced last month it had reached a deal to sell 2.5 million tonnes of LNG to South Korea's state gas company Kogas over three years, a deal valued at about one billion dollars according to press estimates.
© 2010 AFP