(Adds comments by executive)
By Florence Tan
HOUSTON, March 11 (Reuters) - China's demand for natural gas leaves room for greater cooperation with the United States once a trade dispute is resolved, a China National Petroleum Corp Ltd executive said on Monday, citing ongoing talks on liquefied natural gas.
China cut its U.S. LNG purchases last year after a trade dispute flared, causing the Trump administration to levy tariffs on Chinese goods and China to counter with a 10 percent tariff on imports of U.S. LNG.
“Once trade friction between the two countries is resolved, we can increase U.S. oil and gas imports and that will improve trade relations and help reduce the trade deficit,” said CNPC Deputy General Manager Hou Qijun at the CERAWeek energy conference.
Hou said that China's demand for gas is expected to continue rising at an average 8 percent a year through to 2030 as the country expands gas use in its energy mix. The company is in discussions with U.S. LNG suppliers, he added, without identifying any.
“Naturally there’s room for cooperation between one of the largest oil and gas producer in the world and the biggest consumer,” he said.
State-owned China Petroleum and Chemical Corp, known as Sinopec, plans to sign a 20-year liquefied natural gas (LNG) supply agreement with Cheniere Energy Inc once China and the United States end their trade dispute, sources said last week.
(Reporting by Florence Tan; Editing by Leslie Adler and Lisa Shumaker)