US-sourced liq­ue­fied nat­u­ral gas pours in as China reaches for blue skies, di­verse sup­plies

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - BUSINESS - By ZHENG XIN zhengxin@chi­nadaily.com.cn

China sig­nif­i­cantly ramped up im­ports of liq­ue­fied nat­u­ral gas in the first half of the year, as part of broader ef­forts to clean up its coal­dom­i­nated en­ergy mix.

LNG chan­neled into the coun­try to­taled 15.89 mil­lion met­ric tons in the Jan-June pe­riod, a 38.3 per­cent in­crease year-on-year, ac­cord­ing to data re­leased by the Gen­eral Ad­min­is­tra­tion of Cus­toms on Sun­day.

The growth rate, which was much higher than the 21.2 per­cent yearon-year in­crease for the same pe­riod last year, was boosted by the eas­ing of bar­ri­ers for LNG from the United States to en­ter the Chi­nese mar­ket, an an­a­lyst said.

“China is un­likely to sign long-term LNG con­tracts with the US soon, but it is al­ready im­port­ing Amer­i­can gas from the spot mar­ket,” said Wang Lu, an Asia-Pa­cific oil and gas an­a­lyst at Bloomberg In­tel­li­gence.

“Still, the US is al­ready China’s fifth-largest LNG sup­plier this year, ac­count­ing for 3.3 per­cent of im­ports in the first five months of 2017,” Wang added

The coun­try im­ported 400,000 tons of US gas in the first five months, in sharp con­trast to zero im­ports a year ago, Vice-Premier Wang Yang said last Tues­day dur­ing his visit to the United States.

Ac­cord­ing to Wang Lu, the world’s big­gest en­ergy con­sumer prob­a­bly had the great­est in­crease glob­ally in LNG im­ports in the first half of 2017, and might also see its nat­u­ral gas im­ports con­tinue to rise in the sec­ond half.

“Pri­vate com­pa­nies such as Guanghui En­ergy and ENN Group have joined State-owned CNOOC Group, PetroChina and Sinopec in China’s LNG re­ceiv­ing ter­mi­nals busi­ness, in­creas­ing the chan­nels for spot US LNG im­ports,” he said.

The coun­try’s ap­petite for nat­u­ral gas con­tin­ues to rise as the govern­ment eyes more clean fuel to help grad­u­ally re­place dirt­ier coal as a main source of en­ergy.

Coal con­sump­tion ac­counted for

LNG im­ported into China be­tween Jan­uary and June

59.8 per­cent of China’s over­all en­ergy use in the first six months of 2017.

China plans to in­crease its per­cent­age of gas in pri­mary en­ergy con­sump­tion to a range of 8.3 to 10 per­cent in 2020, from 5.9 per­cent in 2015. To achieve the tar­get, China will rely more on gas im­ports, Wang said.

To fur­ther boost the clean fuel’s share in the coun­try’s en­ergy mix, mea­sures have been taken to en­cour­age im­ports and ex­ploit do­mes­tic shale gas re­serves.

China Pe­tro­leum and Chem­i­cal Corp, the world’s big­gest re­finer, also pledged to dou­ble its an­nual nat­u­ral gas out­put by 2020 to reach 40 bil­lion cu­bic me­ters.

The com­pany’s Ful­ing shale gas field, the na­tion’s first com­mer­cial shale gas pro­duc­tion fa­cil­ity which was launched in 2014, will reach an­nual out­put of more than 10 bil­lion cu­bic

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