* Permit will allow LNG trucks to travel Zhoushan Cross-sea Bridge
* LNG truck shipment may rise to 200 from about 60 currently - source
* Key pipeline linking terminal with mainland markets not built
By Chen Aizhu
SINGAPORE, July 29 (Reuters) - Chinese privately owned gas distributor and terminal operator ENN Group said on Monday it has won a permit to transport liquefied natural gas (LNG) carried by trucks over a large bridge in eastern China to reach more customers in the region.
ENN is the owner of China’s first major independent LNG terminal. The $848 million import facility located on Zhoushan Island in eastern China’s Zhejiang province is currently under utilized as a pipeline linking the terminal to customers has not been built even though it started operations 10 months ago.
From July 31, ENN will be allowed to deliver LNG carried in trailers over the 48-km (29-mile) Zhoushan Cross-sea Bridge that connects Zhoushan Island to the city of Zhenhai on the mainland, said a company press officer, without giving further details.
The Zhoushan terminal has an annual receiving capacity of 3 million tonnes of LNG, with facilities including three berths, two storage tanks each capable of 160,000 cubic metres and 14 loading points for trailers.
A source with direct knowledge of the matter said ENN could send 200 gas trailers, or about 4,000 tonnes, every day across the bridge.
The company currently ships about 50 to 60 trailers per day on ferries, versus the terminal’s capacity to deliver 400 trucks a day, the source said.
“This is a big breakthrough for the terminal,” said the source, adding that it was the first of its kind granted by the local authorities.
The person declined to be named as he is not authorized to talk to the press.
The planned sub-sea pipeline that will link ENN’s terminal to the mainland is pending regulatory and safety clearances, and weather conditions could delay the launch, said the source familiar with the matter.
An ENN executive said in April that the pipeline was expected to start up this year.
ENN has signed long-term sales and purchase agreements with Chevron Corp and Australia’s Origin Energy and also has an agreement to buy the fuel from Total.
ENN has resold some of those cargoes because of the lack of the pipeline and land-based access to markets, said several traders familiar with the market.
($1 = 6.8925 Chinese yuan renminbi)
Reporting by Chen Aizhu; editing by Christian Schmollinger