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DOHA, July 25 (Reuters) - PetroChina, Asia's largest oil and gas producer, signed an agreement to acquire 40 percent of exploration and production rights for Qatar's Block 4 from GDF Suez Qatar, which is the operator of the block, Qatar Petroleum said in a statement on Wednesday.
Under the agreement, QP authorises PetroChina Investment to acquire 40 percent of the exploration and production rights from GDF Suez under Qatar's exploration and production sharing agreement (EPSA) for Block 4, an offshore block located north of the Gulf Arab state.
GDF Suez Qatar will continue to be the operator of the block with its 60 percent stake.
"I am confident that with GDF SUEZ and PetroChina working together, they would be able to effectively accomplish the exploration program that is set to be implemented in Block 4," Qatari Energy Minister Mohammed al-Sada said in the statement.
The block, close to the North Field which is the source of the country's massive gas reserves, extends for more than 2,500 square kilometers in area at water depths up to 75 meters.
The two partners will begin drilling in Block 4 in the next few months.
"Qatar Petroleum is glad to support PetroChina's participation in another exploration activity in Qatar in addition to its interest in the Block D exploration," Sada said.
PetroChina signed another EPSA in May 2012 with QP and Royal Dutch Shell through which the partners have been jointly exploring for natural gas in Block D.
"Qatar is keen to have a broader bilateral cooperation with China and we see this as another step to further strengthen the friendly relations between the two countries," Sada said.
Reporting By Regan Doherty, Editing by Humeyra Pamuk