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Sinopec Boosts Stake in Australia Pacific, Buys More LNG

China Petrochemical Corp. signed agreements to raise its stake in an Australian liquefied natural gas project led by ConocoPhillips and Origin Energy Ltd. and lift its purchases of the fuel.

China Petrochemical, or Sinopec Group, will increase its holding in Australia Pacific LNG Pty Ltd. to 25 percent from 15 percent, the Chinese company said in an e-mailed statement today. It will buy an additional 3.3 million metric tons of LNG a year for 20 years, taking its total commitment to 7.6 million tons a year.

Financial terms of the deal weren’t disclosed in the statement. The companies announced an initial accord on Dec. 12. Conoco and Origin may receive at least $1 billion by selling 10 percent to Sinopec Group, Ivor Ries, an analyst at E.L. & C. Baillieu Stockbroking Ltd., said then.

China, the world’s largest energy consumer, plans to more than double natural gas consumption to cut its reliance on coal and oil. The nation will surpass South Korea as Asia’s second-biggest LNG importer by 2020 as its annual purchase of the fuel may rise to about 44 million tons by then, Philip Olivier, president of global LNG at GDF Suez, said Oct. 26.

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