China's two largest owners of liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminals Thursday inked deals with Qatargas Operating Co for LNG importation - the first such deal between China and the world's top LNG exporter.
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 Thursday 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 Thursday, in the presence of Premier Wen Jiabao and visiting Qatari Prime Minister Shaikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Jabr Al-Thani.
The two countries also inked three memoranda of understanding to enhance energy cooperation between the two governments and relevant companies, and expand bilateral cultural cooperation between now and 2010.
During a one-hour talk ahead of the signing ceremony, Wen said energy cooperation between the two nations has made encouraging breakthroughs recently.
He expressed hopes that the two sides can expand cooperation on energy, infrastructure construction and other fields, including culture, education, media, aviation and tourism.
Qatar attaches great importance to Sino-Qatari relations, resolutely adheres to the One-China policy and wished Beijing a successful Olympics, Jabr Al-Thani said.
"China has held many large-scale activities splendidly before. I believe the Beijing Olympics will be as outstanding as the previous ones here," he said.
With this year marking the 20th anniversary of the establishment of bilateral ties, Jabr Al-Thani said Qatar would like to join hands with China to expand bilateral relations.
The Qatari prime minister arrived in Shanghai on Sunday for a weeklong official visit - the highest-level one by a Qatari leader in seven years.
He was scheduled to travel to Hainan province this morning to meet President Hu Jintao and other foreign heads of state, and deliver a speech at the opening ceremony of the Boao Forum for Asia on Saturday afternoon.