BEIJING, May 18 (Reuters) - Guangzhou Gas Group plans to build a 2 million tonne per year import terminal for liquefied natural gas (LNG) on China's southern coast by 2020, possibly in partnership with Woodfibre LNG, an executive with the Chinese firm said.
The Guangzhou company agreed in 2016 to buy 1 million tonnes of LNG annually for 25 years from an export facility that Woodfibre - a subsidiary of Singapore company Pacific Oil & Gas Ltd - is building on the west coast of Canada in British Columbia.
The proposal for joint investment in the Nansha LNG receiving terminal at Guangzhou port reflects efforts by LNG buyers and producers to share risks, said Liu Jingbo, deputy general manager of Guangzhou Gas, on Thursday.
Local government-backed Guangzhou Gas is one of China's fast-growing independent players in its LNG sector, outside dominant state giants like China National Petroleum Corp and CNOOC, having emerged over the past few years as a niche gas importer and infrastructure investor.
"We are considering investing in upstream (gas supply) and are also looking to producers to partner in the Nansha terminal," Liu said on the sidelines of an industry conference.
To secure gas beyond the Woodfibre deal for the Nansha terminal, Guangzhou Gas is looking for more flexible supplies under shorter terms, like three or five years, said Liu.
Guangzhou Gas supplies some 90 percent of the city's gas demand, with consumption forecast to more than double to 3.5 billion cubic metres a year in 2020 from current levels, driven by industrial, commercial and power sectors, said Liu.
Liu said his company also has plans to branch into natural gas trading rather than just being a buyer and distributor.
Backed by Indonesian billionaire Sukanto Tanoto's RGE Group, parent of Pacific Oil & Gas, Woodfibre LNG is an often overlooked front-runner in the race to build Canada's first LNG export terminal. More than a dozen projects have been proposed along British Columbia's coast. (Reporting by Chen Aizhu; Editing by Tom Hogue)