Qatargas Operating Company Ltd. (Qatargas) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the China National Offshore Oil Company (CNOOC) for additional long-term supplies of LNG to the People’s Republic.

Under the terms of the MOU, Qatargas intends to supply an additional three million tonnes of LNG per annum to CNOOC commencing in 2013.

In addition to this base volume, Qatargas and CNOOC will contemplate the sale and purchase of an additional two million tonnes per annum of LNG.

His Excellency Abdullah Bin Hamad Al-Attiyah, Deputy Prime Minister of The State of Qatar and the Minister of Energy and Industry, was in Beijing to attend the opening of Qatargas’ Representative Office in the People’s Republic of China and witnessed the signing of the MOU by Mr. Fu Chengyu, President of CNOOC, and Mr. Faisal M. Al Suwaidi, Chairman and CEO of Qatargas.

The additional volumes, combined with an existing long-term supply commitment of two million tonnes of LNG agreed under a Sales and Purchase Agreement signed in 2008, will potentially take the total volume of the Qatari LNG to be supplied to CNOOC to seven million tonnes per annum.

As noted by His Excellency Abdullah Bin Hamad Al-Attiyah “China is the centre today of the new LNG compass”.

Mr. Al Suwaidi, added, “I am extremely excited that we are able to announce the strengthening of our relationship with CNOOC on the same day we have celebrated the opening of our Representative Office in the People’s Republic of China.”

Qatargas had earlier celebrated the opening of its representative office in Beijing at a ceremony held in the Kunlun Hotel, Beijing, in November.

The State of Qatar is now the world’s largest LNG producer and anticipates that China will become one of the world’s largest gas markets.

As a further sign of its faith in this emerging region, Qatargas has also recently signed an MOU with PetroChina, a wholly owned subsidiary of the Chinese National Petroleum Corporation, to supply two million tonnes per annum LNG to China.