UPDATE 1-GDF Suez signs gas storage deals in China

Thu Apr 25, 2013 10:06am EDT

Related Topics

* Total storage volume equivalent to GDF's French capacity

* GDF Suez to deliver LNG import terminal under 2011 deal

* Deals result of GDF's 2011 linkup with sovereign fund CIC

* No financial details given (Adds detail on China storage, LNG, CIC link)

PARIS, April 25 (Reuters) - Gas and power utility GDF Suez signed agreements with Chinese partners to help the country multiply its natural gas storage capacity in a shift from coal to the cleaner fuel.

Under one agreement with China National Petroleum Corp (CNPC), sealed during a visit to China by French President Francois Hollande, GDF Suez will assess projects to convert depleted gas fields into underground gas storage facilities, which CNPC unit PetroChina plans to fill with gas this year.

Total storage volume would be 10 billion cubic metres (bcm), equivalent to GDF Suez's entire storage capacity in France, GDF Suez said in a statement on Thursday.

It gave no financial details of the agreement.

GDF Suez said it was its first deal for natural gas storage in China and it expected the gas market there could double within five years.

It said China's twelfth five-year plan requires the construction of about 24 underground storage facilities with a volume of 30 bcm by 2017, compared to 3 bcm today.

The deal follows a year of discussions between PetroChina and Storengy, GDF Suez's underground storage gas storage unit, which is already present in France, Germany and Britain.

GDF Suez said it would also sell China its first floating LNG import terminal, based in Tianjin, a port town close to Beijing.

The agreement with China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC) foresees the chartering of GDF Suez's Cape Ann LNG carrier from October 2013 for up to five years.

GDF Suez Chief Executive Gerard Mestrallet said the agreements were a result of its partnership with Chinese sovereign fund CIC.

China Investment Corp (CIC) paid 2.3 billion euros ($4.2 billion) in 2011 for a 30 percent stake in the French firm's oil and gas production unit. (Reporting by Geert De Clercq; Editing by Tom Pfeiffer)

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