PetroChina has signed a deal to set up a joint venture to run its first liquefied natural gas terminal in eastern China scheduled to be operational at the end of April in 2011.

The terminal would be mainly fed by fuel imports from Qatar, a report on the website (www.cnpc.com.cn) of CNPC, PetroChina’s parent, said.

Qatargas, together with partner Royal Dutch Shell, agreed in April 2008 to sell 3 million tonnes of LNG a year to PetroChina from 2011 for 25 years.

PetroChina will take a 55 percent stake in the joint venture, while Hong Kong-based Pacific Oil and Gas Limited holds 35 percent and Jiangsu Guoxin Investment Group Limited, a local partner, owns the remaining 10 percent.

The first phase of the project, costing some 6 billion yuan ($877.4 million), would be able to handle 3.5 million tonnes of LNG a year or supply 4.8 billion cubic metres of gas per annum to users when it is ready.

The terminal could take in 6.5 million tonnes of LNG a year, or supply 8.7 billion cubic metres of gas after an expansion is completed, the report said.

The project, which is built on reclaimed land off China’s Yellow Sea, will help improve gas supply security in the Yangtze River delta, one of China’s key economic centres.

PetroChina has also started building its first north China LNG terminal in Dalian that is also scheduled to be operational in 2011. ($1=6.838 Yuan) (Reporting by Beijing newsroom, Editing by Jacqueline Wong)

(Reuters)