China's Hanas seeks gas partners in US

Updated: 2013-09-09 10:55

By Zhang Yuwei in New York (China Daily)

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China and the US - the world's two largest economic super powers - will have more opportunities to work together in the liquefied natural gas (LNG) industry in the next 10 to 15 years, with China's increasing demand and the US' supply ability and "appealing" prices, said Ma Fuqiang, president of China's Hanas New Energy Group.

"The structure in the global energy market has been changing and in the next 10 to 15 years, we probably will see China and India - which together will form maybe 90 percent of Asia - consuming the natural gas supply, that's when the US can play an important role," said Ma who arrived in New York on Sunday leading a delegation of a dozen company employees on an exploratory tour of the US.

Ma believes this trend will create new projects that the two largest economies can work closely together on and hopes to find partners that Hanas can form a joint venture with to develop LNG by the "end of this year", without disclosing names of the possible partners they are considering. The investment value will be "around $5 billion", said Ma.

LNG, predominantly methane, refers to natural gas that has been converted to liquid form for ease of storage or transport.

"We set LNG business as a core company strategy for Hanas in the coming years," said Ma, who is scheduled to attend the annual seminar of owners and operators of LNG hosted by Air Products and Chemical Inc, a Pennsylvania-based gas company on Monday.

China's Hanas seeks gas partners in US

Hanas has been using Air Products' LNG process technology since 2009.

The executive said the US market has great potential for Asia and emerging markets because its supply of LNG, in particular, will exceed its own market's need in the next decade.

"The possible largest clients for the US are in Asia and emerging markets," said the president, adding that US' prices are more "appealing" than those of Russia, the Middle East or Australia.

Ma's 15-day trip will include visits to LNG factories and wind-tribune manufacturers in Nevada and Washington State.

Ma founded Hanas in 2010 in the Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region in China. The relatively young company - compared to some State-owned enterprises such as China Petroleum & Chemical Corp and China National Offshore Oil Corp - doesn't have a considerably high market share in China, said the president.

But the Chinese market is big and the need for better energy solutions as China's urbanization picks up, Ma believes, will make for ample opportunities for firms like Hanas.

Hanas has been mostly engaged in LNG production, gas-fired cogeneration projects of heating and power, and city gas networks. Ma's US tour will also include visits to projects in the US where he can "learn and explore cooperation opportunities".

Last July Hanas put into operation an LNG plant in Yinchuan, the capital of Ningxia, becoming the largest of its kind in China. The plant has been helping generate sustainable energy supplies in China's western region.

China - the world's second largest energy consumer and producer - plans to achieve an annual natural gas consumption of 260 billion cubic meters by 2015.

Research firm Sanford C. Bernstein & Co predicts the number of vehicles fueled by LNG in China will rise tenfold to 800,000 by 2020. This demand will open doors for LNG imports where China will become the top export destination for LNG.

With its population size and fast pace of urbanization, China is facing the challenge of replacing the use of coal with the consumption of natural gas in the coming years to move onto a sustainable path, said Ma.

"It's time we explored the channels for getting (importing) fair-priced LNG to feed the increasing energy demand from China," said Ma.

(China Daily USA 09/09/2013 page2)