(EnergyAsia, April 25 2013, Thursday) — Qatar Petroleum International and UK energy retailer Centrica plc have teamed up to buy gas fields from Canada’s Suncor Energy for US$1 billion.

In separate statements, the companies said Suncor has agreed to sell the conventional portion of its natural gas business in Western Canada to a newly established partnership between Centrica plc and Qatar Petroleum International.

The UK-listed firm will own 60% of the business which is expected to produce around 42,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day, with 90% of that as natural gas. The partners set the foundation for their joint venture through a cooperation accord signed in December 2011.

The Suncor fields hold estimated reserves of 978 billion cubic feet equivalent, with potential for growth through the development of more than one million acres of undeveloped land.

The sale includes properties situated across the provinces of Alberta, northeastern British Columbia and southern Saskatchewan. Excluded are the majority of Suncor’s unconventional natural gas properties in the Montney region of British Columbia and the company’s Wilson Creek, Alberta unconventional oil assets, said Suncor.

Centrica CEO Sam Laidlaw said:

“The acquisition provides attractive returns in a region we know well, and significantly increases the size and quality of our portfolio. It has the potential to improve returns further.”

Separately, QPI has signed a memorandum of understanding with Exxon Mobil Corp to jointly evaluate and assess unconventional natural gas reserves in North America with an eye to developing LNG exports.

Nasser Al-Jaidah, QPI’s CEO, said the deal “signifies our joint interest in expanding our partnership both domestically and internationally in order to address the growing and evolving role of natural gas, which continues to play a larger role in meeting the needs of an increasing population.”