BP’s $20 Billion Leads Deals as China’s Li Visits UK – Bloomberg

 

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BP Plc (BP/) signed a $20 billion deal to supply liquefied natural gas to China National Offshore Oil Corp. (883), one of a number of contracts announced as Chinese Premier Li Keqiang visits the U.K.

The 20-year agreement will see 1.5 million tons of LNG shipped annually to China from 2019, BP said in a statement. The contract with the U.K.’s second-largest energy producer shows China’s appetite hasn’t been sated after the country made a $400 billion pipeline deal with Russia last month.

“China knows the challenges it faces in meeting the energy needs that underpin its economic growth,” said David Elmes, who heads the Global Energy Research Network at the University of Warwick. China’s moving to gas to contain the pollution that comes from dependence on coal-fired plants, he said.

Deals from energy to finance totaling $30 billion will be announced in the next two days, according to China’s embassy in the U.K. Li’s visit sees the end of a three-year diplomatic freeze caused by arguments over human rights and Tibet.

China Minsheng Investment Corp., the country’s largest private-sector investment group, will pledge $1.5 billion for industries including financial services and offshore engineering and open its European headquarters in London, Prime Minister David Cameron’s office said in a statement. The U.K. is also aiming to begin talks on ending a 30-year-old Chinese ban on British beef and lamb exports.

 

Li Keqiang, China’s premier. Deals totaling $30 billion will be announced in the next two days, according to China’s embassy in the U.K., as Li’s visit confirms the end of a three-year diplomatic freeze caused by arguments over human rights and Tibet. Close

Li Keqiang, China’s premier. Deals totaling $30 billion will be announced in the next… Read More
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Photographer: Brent Lewin/Bloomberg

Li Keqiang, China’s premier. Deals totaling $30 billion will be announced in the next two days, according to China’s embassy in the U.K., as Li’s visit confirms the end of a three-year diplomatic freeze caused by arguments over human rights and Tibet.

BP Chief Executive Officer Bob Dudley said in Moscow earlier today the LNG contract would be valued at about $20 billion.
Visa Applications

For its part, Britain said last night it will make it easier for Chinese visitors to apply for visas. Home Secretary Theresa May announced easier forms for visa applicants from China and an agreement to allow travelers from China or India to come to the U.K. on an Irish visa.

Improving the visa system was on a list of requests from Liu Xiaoming, the Chinese ambassador in London. While Chinese travelers can visit most European Union countries on a single visa, they need a separate one to enter the U.K.

“I receive complaints from businesses based here,” Liu told reporters this week. “They have difficulties to rotate their senior executives because of visa restrictions. So that made their operations more difficult than they are in other European countries. Visa issues really erode British strength in terms of attracting more foreign businesses.”

Liu, who also said China wanted the U.K. to build a third runway at London’s Heathrow airport, held out the visit as an opportunity to reset relations between the two countries.
Windsor Meeting

Li, who arrived in London late yesterday, met Queen Elizabeth II at Windsor Castle today before traveling to London to meet Cameron at his Downing Street residence for a lunch attended by senior U.K. ministers and business leaders from both countries. Li will be joined by more than 200 Chinese business leaders, including the chairmen of most of the country’s biggest banks.

Nord Engine, a Chinese financial-services group, will announce 150 million pounds ($250 million) of funding to invest in small and medium-sized British and European companies. The investment is among at least $30 billion of deals in industries including energy and finance that Liu said will be signed during the visit.

In an article for the Times newspaper yesterday, Li said he wanted to change “misperceptions and misgivings” about his country.

Cameron visited China in December for the first time in three years, and was greeted with an editorial in the state-run Global Times newspaper stating that Britain “is just an old European country apt for travel and study.” In 2012, he was told he had “seriously damaged” relations by meeting the Tibetan spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama.

To contact the reporters on this story: Robert Hutton in London at rhutton1@bloomberg.net; Eduard Gismatullin in London at egismatullin@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Will Kennedy at wkennedy3@bloomberg.net; Alan Crawford at acrawford6@bloomberg.net Alex Devine

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