CNOOC - China's largest offshore oil and gas producer - is considering investing in overseas natural gas exploration projects to help secure a supply base for its Guangdong liquefied natural gas (LNG) project. Analysts consider it likely the company will receive multiple investment offers from oil companies in the region - all eager to supply gas to the lucrative Guangdong project. In its first phase it involves building a terminal capable of re-gassifying an annual three million tonnes of imported LNG. Indonesia's Pertamina is one of the likely potential partners for CNOOC - the Hong Kong-listed flagship of China National Offshore Oil Corp. Bill Schrader, chief executive of British oil giant BP Amoco's Indonesian branch, said CNOOC was interested in a 20 per cent stake in the Tangguh gas exploration project in Indonesia, the online service infocastfn.com reported. BP is one of the overseas companies which work together with Pertamina on gas exploration. BP is also partnering CNOOC in the construction of the Guangdong LNG terminal at a cost of US$600 million. BP has 30 per cent of the project, against 33 per cent for CNOOC. A CNOOC official would neither confirm nor deny its interest in the Indonesian project. He said the company's gas strategy encompassed many gas-related operations and would consider gas suppliers worldwide for its LNG project. In a research report, HSBC Securities analyst Gordon Kwan said other potential suitors for CNOOC's investment in the gas projects included companies in Australia, Qatar and Russia. They were eager to supply gas to the nascent but potentially fast-growing mainland market, and would be willing to offer CNOOC a stake in gas projects. Mr Kwan believes Pertamina is a strong contender because it struck a memorandum of understanding with CNOOC in the first quarter. In this it agreed to open more gas blocks for CNOOC's participation. With Japan and Taiwan - two of Asia's three leading LNG users - mired in a recession, China and India were key growth markets. Goldman Sachs (Asia) analyst Paul Bernard believes CNOOC is open to various offers but will invest only in those projects which will eventually become suppliers to the LNG project. CNOOC is expected to begin tendering the Guangdong gas supply contract in the fourth quarter.