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Chinese, Qatari firms ink gas deals
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China's two largest owners of liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminals yesterday inked deals with Qatargas Operating Co for LNG importation - the first such deal between China and the world's top LNG exporter.

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao (front, L) and Qatari Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Sheikh Hamad Bin Jasim Bin Jabir Al-Thani (front, R) inspect the guard of honor at the welcoming ceremony in Beijing, capital of China, April 10, 2008.

Qatargas will sell 2 million tons of LNG a year to China National Offshore Oil Corp (CNOOC), currently China's sole LNG importer, starting from next year, according to the agreement.

Qatargas and its partner Royal Dutch Shell will sell 3 million tons of LNG a year to PetroChina from 2011.

CNOOC, China's third-largest oil company, also announced yesterday it will open 17 offshore blocks for joint oil exploration with foreign companies this year.

The two agreements were signed between the companies' chairmen at the Great Hall of the People yesterday, in the presence of Premier Wen Jiabao and visiting Qatari Prime Minister Shaikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Jabr Al-Thani.

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