little-known firm, backed by the Hebei provincial government,
joins a handful of Chinese companies outside the dominant state
energy giants aiming to own and operate a receiving facility for
the super-chilled fuel, of which China is the world's
In a Hong Kong exchange filing on Thursday, Suntien said the
central government had approved its plan to build a gas terminal
in the city of Tangshan with an eventual handling capacity of 12
million tonnes a year.
A Hongkong-based investor relations official told Reuters the
company would initially invest 8.07 billion yuan ($1.15 billion)
for a first-stage terminal able to handle 5 million tonnes of
LNG a year by the end of 2022.
The project will include eight storage tanks, each sized 200,000
cubic meters, and a berth able to dock LNG tankers between
80,000 and 266,000 cubic meters, the official said.
Suntien, which has a market capitalization of HK$8.47 billion
($1.1 billion), said it plans to finance the Tangshan project
through its own capital and loans from financial institutions.
The company began life in 2010 as a wind power generator, but
wants to beef up its natural gas business to contribute half its
profit in five years' time, versus 30% in 2018, said the
official, who declined to be named as she is not the company's
The move would compensate for a less prospective wind power
business, which is facing headwinds from over-capacity and
dwindling state subsidies, the official said.
"The outlook of wind power is less certain ... because of lags
in state subsidies and the limits on the amount of generation,"
Its gas business, however, has been robust.
Suntien currently operates 4,140 km (2,575 miles) of pipelines
in Hebei, China's top steel-making province, and last year
supplied the province with nearly 20% of its total gas needs,
securing gas mostly from top gas producer PetroChina <0857.HK>.
Gas demand in Hebei is forecast to hit 20 billion cubic meters
in 2020, up more than 40% from 2018, thanks to a strong
government push to switch from coal to gas to tackle pollution,
the official said.
(Reporting by Chen Aizhu; editing by Richard Pullin)
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