(EnergyAsia, June 29 2011, Wednesday) — UK’s BG Group said it has signed a key cooperation agreement with Bank of China that allows for it to access up to US$1.5 billion in new funding options to support its expansion in the global gas industry.

Building upon their existing commercial relationships, the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) confirms their intention to make extended credit facilities available to support BG’s global growth plans, including its operations in China where the group has an established commercial presence and where an initial offshore exploration programme is underway.

The MoU also identifies other areas of potential cooperation including investment banking services, derivatives products, bank deposits, insurance and international settlement and trade finance facilities.

Separately, BG Group already has a US$200m lending facility in place with Bank of China which is just one of a series of committed lending facilities that the company has with a group of international banks.  These lending facilities in aggregate have been recently increased and extended and now total US$4.4 billion.

In signing the MoU with the Bank of China chairman Gang Xiao, BG’s chief executive, Frank Chapman, said:

“This is a significant agreement for BG Group. It affirms and enhances our existing excellent relationship with the Bank of China. BG Group has a well established presence in China as a result of our LNG sales into this valuable and rapidly growing market, through a long-term sales and equity agreement with CNOOC in our QCLNG project in Australia, and with an extensive exploration programme offshore China that has already produced a discovery.

“This agreement builds on our existing facilities with Bank of China and provides the option for substantial additional funding for our commitments in China and also our global growth programme.”

BG Group plc is a world leader in natural gas, with a strategy focused on connecting competitively priced resources to specific, high-value markets. Active in more than 25 countries on five continents, the company has a broad portfolio of exploration and production, liquefied natural gas (LNG) and transmission and distribution business interests.