China National Offshore Oil Corp. will pay BG Group Plc $1.93 billion for a supply contract and an additional stake in an Australian liquefied natural gas project as China secures fuel sources to meet soaring consumption.
The unlisted parent of Cnooc Ltd., China’s biggest offshore oil and gas explorer, signed the contract that will make BG the biggest provider of LNG to China, the U.K. company said yesterday in a statement to the London Stock Exchange. The deal will provide state-run China National with 5 million metric tons a year of LNG for 20 years starting 2015.
China National will raise its stake in a part of BG’s Queensland Curtis LNG project in Australia to 50 percent from 10 percent. BG said in May the cost for building a gas export project in the region jumped 36 percent to $20.4 billion as the Australian dollar gained and labor and materials expenses rose.
“The deal would further deepen China National’s LNG participation in the region, which is strategically important given the growth of LNG in China,” said Neil Beveridge, a Hong Kong-based energy analyst at Sanford C. Bernstein & Co. “Clearly the Queensland project is running over the budget, given a high cost inflation, and running behind the schedule. China National’s participation could help lessen some of BG’s spending burden.”
BG has an existing deal with the China National to supply 3.6 million tons of LNG a year from 2010.
A Beijing-based spokeswoman for Cnooc declined to comment on the parent’s business. China National’s Beijing-based spokesman Liu Xiaobiao didn’t answer two calls each to his office line and mobile phone.
China has 29 billion cubic meters, or 21.5 million tons, a year of LNG-importing capacity in operation and an additional 26 billion cubic meters under construction, according to the International Energy Agency. The nation’s LNG imports may rise to 47 billion cubic meters a year by 2015, the Paris-based agency said in its first Medium-Term Gas Market Report on June 5. Purchase of the clean fuel rose to a record of 12.21 million tons in 2011.
PetroChina Co. and Royal Dutch Shell Plc own Australia’s Arrow Energy, which is planning an LNG project on Queensland’s Curtis Island next to the BG venture.
BG’s coal-seam gas-to-LNG project is among $180 billion of LNG developments being built in Australia to meet Asian demand.