(Adds China utility firm Huadian's alliance with Sinopec;
KUALA LUMPUR/VANCOUVER, April 30 A plan by
Malaysian state-owned oil firm Petronas to build an
$11 billion liquefied natural gas (LNG) export terminal on
Canada's Pacific Coast gained momentum on Tuesday with China's
Sinopec Group and a Chinese state utility joining
Petronas said it will sell state-owned Sinopec Group,
formally known as China Petrochemical Corp, a 15 percent stake
in its Pacific NorthWest LNG export facility, along with a 15
percent stake in the northern British Columbia shale gas assets
that will feed it.
As part of the deal, Sinopec, China's largest petrochemical
producer, will take 1.8 million tonnes of LNG a year, or about
15 percent of the proposed LNG facility's production, for at
least 20 years, Petronas said in a statement.
Sinopec Group, parent of Hong Kong and Shanghai-listed top
Asian refiner Sinopec Corp , later
said state-owned power group China Huadian Corp will
share its stake in Pacific NorthWest, taking 5 percent, with
Sinopec Group retaining the rest.
The utility will also share the gas offtake by taking 0.6
million tpy and Sinopec keeps the remainder 1.2 million tpy.
Huadian is the first Chinese power company to invest in a
North American shale gas project. Analysts expect more Chinese
utilities to make similar investments as environmental concerns
intensify their need for cleaner-burning natural gas.
Huadian is currently the only utility firm drilling for
shale gas in China.
"Among the Chinese state utilities, Huadian is the one with
the most distinctive natural gas strategy. It wants to be a
leader in the gas-for-power sector," said Li Yao, executive
director of Beijing-based consultancy SIA Energy.
China is moving to double the share of natural gas in its
overall energy supply to more than 8 percent by 2015 to reduce
its reliance on coal that fuels most of its power plants.
In addition to its ownership offtake, Sinopec will buy
another 3 million tonnes of LNG annually from the terminal, to
be located in the small port of Prince Rupert, British Columbia,
which is about 1,500 kilometers (932 miles) by road north of
Petronas did not give a value for the Sinopec deal.
Petronas is expected to make a final decision on giving the
project the green light by yearend. It says construction will
take about four years, with commercial operation expected in
Sinopec is Petronas's fourth partner in the project, which
is one of about a dozen LNG terminals proposed for British
Columbia's rugged coastline as energy companies scramble to
build facilities to export cheap Canadian gas to Asian markets.
Petronas, which entered the fray in 2012 with its C$5.2
billion ($4.7 billion) takeover of Canada's Progress Energy
Resources, has moved quickly to hurdle past its rivals in the
LNG race. The company has so far secured an export permit and
filed its key environmental documents.
Once the deal closes, Sinopec will be the second biggest
shareholder in the project behind Petronas, which holds 62
percent. Indian Oil Corp Ltd and JAPEX Montney Ltd each have 10
percent stakes, while Petroleum Brunei holds 3 percent.
The Sinopec deal is subject to approval by the relevant
Bank of America Merrill Lynch served as financial adviser to
(Reporting by Al-Zaquan Amer Hamzah in Kuala Lumpur and Julie
Gordon in Vancouver; additional reporting by Chen Aizhu in
Beijing and Charlie Zhu in Hong Kong; Editing by Jason Neely and
Peter Galloway and Miral Fahmy)