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Report: China's CNOOC may open up LNG import terminals to independent companies

China National Offshore Oil Corp. is looking to open up its liquefied natural gas import facilities to independent companies following trial leases the previous year, Reuters reported March 11, citing three sources familiar with the matter.

The move by China's largest LNG import terminal operator comes amid Beijing's plans to increase private investment and natural gas use in the country's energy sector through the formation of a national pipeline company with assets from state companies, according to the report.

State-run China National Offshore Oil Corp., or CNOOC, is offering pipeline developers and LNG distributors usage of about 20 terminals on the east coast of China for 10-year terms with a set number of slots per year, Reuters said in its report. Increasing access to its terminals can also lead to a boost in LNG imports to the country, which has been the second-largest LNG buyer since 2017. CNOOC is also offering companies an opportunity to offtake import cargoes signed under agreements with international suppliers, two of the sources told Reuters.

"The discussions about opening terminals ... is compatible with the broad state policy to connect LNG import facilities with main gas pipelines such as the West-to-East project," a state oil LNG executive based in Shenzhen, China, told Reuters.

CNOOC, the parent company of CNOOC Ltd., did not respond to Reuters' request for a comment on the possible move.