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CNPC Chairman Zhou Jiping (Image courtesy of Gazprom)

Royal Dutch Shell and CNPC signed a deal to strengthen cooperation in deep sea exploration, LNG, and unconventional gas sources like shale, CNPC said in a statement on Wednesday.

During Ben van Beurden’s first overseas visit since becoming CEO of Shell, he told CNPC Chairman Zhou Jiping that both sides have set up deep and wide-ranging ties with room for further cooperation.

Shell is one of the biggest overseas investors in China’s energy sector..

The company has an existing partnership in place with CNPC to explore and develop shale gas in China’s western regions.

Shell also plans to partner CNPC to build a $12.6 billion refinery and petrochemical complex in eastern China.