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TOKYO, April 5 (Reuters) - China's growing retail gas market could offer plenty of opportunities for foreign investment, with Beijing pushing to curb its reliance on coal as it battles pollution, KPMG's China energy specialist said on Wednesday.
The world's top energy user aims to nearly triple the role of gas in its energy mix to around 15 percent by 2030, boosting use of the cleaner fuel as it looks to combat smog that often blankets many cities.
"There is still lots of growth potential in the city gas market in China," Raymond Ng, KPMG's head of energy and natural resources for China, told Reuters in an interview in Tokyo.
"A lot of investments are still required and there are no restrictions for foreign investors in the city gas area."
China's top economic planner from October made a series of policy announcements to boost the gas sector including allowing storage operators to negotiate rates directly with customers.
But Ng believes that Beijing is unlikely to open investments into key trunk gas pipeline infrastructure to foreign players as existing operators PetroChina, Sinopec Corp and CNOOC could easily raise funds needed for expansion from local investors.
"The city gas market is open to domestic and foreign private companies, but I see trunk pipeline infrastructure continuing to be dominated by state-owned enterprises and domestic financial investors," said Ng.
Reporting by Yuka Obayashi; Editing by Joseph Radford