PetroChina considers building major gas storage

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BEIJING, Sept 20 (Reuters) PetroChina, Asia's top oil and gas producer, is considering building natural gas storage which could hold almost a quarter of China's predicted annual consumption, a company official said on Thursday.

PetroChina is looking to set up 33 to 45.5 billion cubic metres of gas storage, Yang lina, deputy director of PetroChina's Planning and Engineering Institute told an industry seminar.

Yang did not specify the timeframe to achieve that capacity, which at the higher end would amount to 23 and 18 percent of China's forecast gas consumption by 2015 and 2020 respectively.

''As the largest of China's three state-run gas suppliers, the pressure on PetroChina to ensure stable supply is the greatest,'' Yang said. Domestic rival Sinopec Corp and CNOOC Ltd are the other two gas producers.

PetroChina has preliminary plan to build 14 storage bases able to hold 16 to 18 bcm of gas, Yang said, without giving details on the sites or the timeframe.

China, keen to cut soaring dependence on imported oil and clean up its environment, expects to triple gas use by 2020 from the current level to account for 8 percent of the country's energy consumption.

But demand for gas, driven by both residential use and power generation, has been rising much faster than expected, leading to shortages in some regions in the past few years.

PetroChina, which supplies 75 percent of China's current 70 bcm market, is Beijing's main vehicle to secure long term gas supply through planned pipelines from Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan and Russia. It is also courting Myanmar for pipeline gas.

Earlier this month PetroChina surprised the market with two deals to import liquefied natural gas (LNG) from Australia potentially worth a total of billion.

REUTERS DKS GC1858

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