BIZCHINA> Mergers and Acquisitions
PetroChina exits coalbed gas JV with China Coal
Updated: 2008-07-31 16:32

Top Asian oil and gas producer PetroChina will sell its 50 percent stake in China United Coalbed Methane Co Ltd to the parent of China Coal Energy, exiting their venture in favour of producing the fuel on its own.

A China Coal executive said on Tuesday the two partners had disagreed on the direction of China United Coalbed Methane -- the only coalbed methane firm in the country allowed to cooperate with foreign partners -- and PetroChina had then decided to sell its stake to its partner and go it alone.

China United Coalbed Methane, now 50 percent held by the China National Coal Group and 50 percent held by PetroChina, will become a wholly owned subsidiary of the China National Coal Group after the transfer, Jing Tianliang, China Coal chairman, said on Tuesday.

"China Coal will decide whether to exercise options to acquire the coalbed methane assets from the parent, when conditions are ripe," Jing said without elaborating.

"The two shareholders had different ideas on how to develop the coalbed methane business, so PetroChina decided to withdraw from its 50 percent stake."

PetroChina will develop its own coalbed methane business after quitting the firm, the China Securities Journal this month cited industry sources as saying.

China holds an estimated 1,000 trillion cubic feet of methane gas. Foreign firms pouring funds into the country's coalbed methane sector include US-based Far East Energy Corp and UK-listed Green Dragon Gas Ltd.

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