BEIJING - China's largest offshore oil producer Cnooc plans to nearly double its annual imports of liquefied natural gas (LNG) by 2020, company President Fu Chengyu said on Friday.
The company is expected to import 30 million tons of LNG in 2020, said Fu. The company is expected to import 16 million tons of LNG this year.
"Cnooc is China's first company involved in the LNG business. We will further boost LNG imports as the company moves to develop more clean energy and fight climate change," said Fu.
The company is now also involved in other clean energy businesses such as offshore wind power, urban fuel gas and clean energy vehicles, said Fu.
Cnooc will also focus on coal-based clean energy development, he said.
Cnooc in March signed an agreement to buy 3.6 million tons of LNG per year from British gas producer BG Group's Curtis LNG facility in Queensland, Australia, for 20 years.
This was the world's first purchase agreement for the supply of LNG from coal seam gas, and marked the first sale of LNG from coal seam gas to China, Cnooc said in a statement.
The deal, one of Australia's biggest single company-to-company LNG contracts, is worth about $40 billion based on a crude oil price of $70 per barrel, BG Chief Executive Frank Chapman said after the signing ceremony.
Use of natural gas fits well with China's efforts to build an environmentally friendly economy, said analysts. China will see more natural gas imports as domestic production cannot keep pace with rapidly rising consumption, they said.
China imported 5.8 million tons of LNG in 2009, an increase of 67 percent from a year earlier, according to the National Energy Administration.
The country has three LNG shipping terminals in Shanghai, and Fujian and Guangdong provinces.