The three-way agreements were signed in Beijing on 10 April by Qatar’s Minister of Energy and Industry Abdullah bin Hamad al-Attiyah; Jiang Jiemin, president of China National Petroleum Corporation and chairman of PetroChina; and Linda Cook, executive director of the UK/Dutch Shell Group.

The LNG will come from the Qatargas 4 project and will be shipped to PetroChina’s LNG receiving terminals once they start commercial operations. The agreements are for 3 million tonnes of LNG a year for 25 years.

Qatar is planning to expand its LNG production to 77 million tonnes a year by 2010.

Qatargas 4, which is under construction, is a joint venture between Qatar Petroleum (QP) and Shell. QP owns 70 per cent of the project, with Shell holding the remaining 30 per cent.