CNPC Reports Yunnan CBM Deal

SHANGHAI (Dow Jones)

China National Petroleum Corp., the nation's top oil and gas producer, signed a strategic cooperation framework agreement last Friday with the Yunnan provincial government on developing and utilizing coal bed methane, the company said on its Web site Monday.

This is the company's latest move to expand its foothold in tapping CBM resources as it is focusing on developing the cleaner-burning fuel this year among alternative energy sources.

Yunnan in southwest China ranks seventh in the country in terms of coal resource reserves and ninth in CBM resources. Its annual coal output is around 90 million metric tons, according to the statement.

CNPC has been authorized to jointly develop CBM projects with foreign partners, ending a monopoly previously held by China United Coalbed Methane Co., Yu Baocai, a vice general manager of CNPC, said earlier this month.

The company's CBM production capacity was 600 million cubic meters at the end of last year.

Royal Dutch Shell (RDSA.LN) and ConocoPhillips (COP) are among the international oil majors with coal seam gas acreage in China, along with smaller companies such as Green Dragon Gas Ltd. (GDG.LN).

PetroChina Co (PTR), CNPC's listed arm, and Shell made a joint bid of $2.96 billion for Australian coal-seam gas producer Arrow Energy (AOE.AU) last week.

Jing Yang contributed to this article.

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