PetroChina buys 20% of B.C. Shell gas play

PetroChina has agreed to buy a 20 per cent stake in a Shell Canada natural gas stake in northeastern B.C.

PetroChina Co. has agreed to buy a 20 per cent stake in Shell Oil’s Groundbirch shale gas project in northeastern B.C.

"PetroChina and Shell have signed binding agreements for PetroChina to acquire a 20 per cent interest in certain of Shell’s 100-per-cent owned Groundbirch lands and assets in northeast B.C." Royal Dutch Shell CEO Peter Voser said.

The deal is the latest in a number of natural resource acquisitions by China, which has moved aggressively in recent years to secure deals in China and elsewhere in the world.

In January, PetroChina bought the entirety of the MacKay River oilsands project from Athabasca Oil Sands Corp. for $680 million.

Last summer PetroChina walked away from a $5 billion deal with EnCana Corp. that would have seen the former take a 50 per cent stake in the latter's shale gas assets.

Shell's Groundbirch site has the potential to produce 1 billion cubic feet equivalents a day for 40 years.

Shell Canada declined to offer financial details, but investment website FinanceAsia reported PetroChina may have paid as much as $1 billion.