China's CNPC agrees to cooperate on oil and gas with Norway's Equinor

BEIJING, Oct 16 (Reuters) - China’s top energy group CNPC agreed on Monday with Norwegian company Equinor to cooperate on oil and gas exploration, renewables and carbon capture technology, company executives said on Tuesday.

China and Norway agreed to resume full diplomatic relations in 2016 following a row over the Norwegian Nobel Committee awarding its Peace Prize to jailed dissident Liu Xiaobo in 2010. Liu died last year while still in Chinese custody.

In August of last year, the two countries resumed talks on the free trade agreement.

Under the memorandum of understanding (MOU), companies will explore opportunities in tapping unconventional gas resources in China and also partner at global oil and gas projects.

“Domestically in China (the cooperations) mainly onshore unconventional resource or tight gas. Internationally more likely on conventional oil and gas production,” said Al Cook, executive vice president of strategy, on the sidelines of a Norway-China energy seminar.

“Companies like CNPC have a tremendous opportunity linking global gas supply with domestic gas demand,” said Cook.

He didn’t give further details.

China, which overtook South Korea last year as the world’s second-largest importer of liquefied natural gas (LNG), will likely contribute more than half of the world’s incremental LNG trade this year, said Li Yao, founder of consultancy SIA Energy.

Zhang Xiangning, a deputy director with CNPC’s Foreign Cooperation Administration Department, said Euqinor could apply its tight gas technology to Chinese oil and gas fields like Changqing in north China’s Ordos basin, where CNPC aims to further boost reserves.

Changqing is China’s top gas field which makes up nearly a quarter of the nation’s total natural gas output.

“We hope Equinor and CNPC could deepen our exchanges in tight gas as well as carbon capture utilization and storage technologies,” Zhang told the same seminar.

The MOU was signed at a state visit by Norway’s King Harald V at the invitation of Chinese President Xi Jinping.

Reporting by Chen Aizhu, editing by Louise Heavens