Nat­u­ral gas im­ports hit record

China Daily - - BUSINESS - By ZHENG YIRAN and ZHENG XIN Con­tact the writ­ers at zhengyi­[email protected]­nadaily.com.cn

China’s im­ports of nat­u­ral gas surged 31.9 per­cent year-on-year to 90.4 mil­lion met­ric tons in 2018, set­ting a record, ac­cord­ing to the Gen­eral Ad­min­is­tra­tion of Cus­toms.

It also demon­strated that most of the liq­ue­fied nat­u­ral gas came from Aus­tralia, ASEAN coun­tries and Qatar, while nat­u­ral gas in the gaseous state mainly came from Turk­menistan and Kaza­khstan.

Ac­cord­ing to a re­port is­sued by ASKCI Con­sult­ing Co, an in­dus­trial re­search plan­ning and con­sult­ing com­pany, from 2013 to 2017, the na­tion’s nat­u­ral gas im­ports in­creased 249.31 per­cent. In 2017, the fig­ure was 68.57 mil­lion tons, an in­crease of 26.9 per­cent year-on-year.

Li Li, en­ergy re­search direc­tor at mar­ket con­sul­tancy ICIS China, said: “The in­crease was mainly gen­er­ated by liq­ue­fied nat­u­ral gas. The ef­fi­ciency of LNG ter­mi­nals is im­prov­ing, and there is grow­ing en­thu­si­asm for con­struct­ing LNG ter­mi­nals. More and more play­ers are en­ter­ing the mar­ket.”

“At the same time, the mem­ory of the huge nat­u­ral gas de­mand in 2017 made the whole in­dus­try at­tach greater im­por­tance to ter­mi­nal ware­houses,” she added.

LNG im­ports are an im­por­tant part of China’s nat­u­ral gas im­ports. By the end of 2018, there were a to­tal of 19 LNG ter­mi­nals built in China, from Liaon­ing prov­ince in the north­east to Hainan prov­ince in the south.

“In re­cent years, de­mand from many new nat­u­ral gas con­sum­ing coun­tries grew rapidly. China and In­dia had be­come the fastest grow­ing coun­tries for the con­sump­tion of nat­u­ral gas, es­pe­cially LNG.

“In 2017, China over­took South Ko­rea to be­come the sec­ond-largest LNG im­porter. The first place was taken by Ja­pan. It is es­ti­mated that in 2019, China will be­come the largest nat­u­ral gas im­porter around the globe,” said Zhang Yuqing, for­mer vice-direc­tor of the Na­tional En­ergy Ad­min­is­tra­tion.

Keisuke Sadamori, gen­eral man­ager of the En­ergy Mar­ket and Se­cu­rity De­part­ment of the In­ter­na­tional En­ergy Agency, agreed.

“Be­cause do­mes­tic pro­duc­tion can­not meet do­mes­tic de­mand, China will be­come the world’s largest nat­u­ral gas im­porter in 2019. Its nat­u­ral gas im­ports in 2023 are es­ti­mated to reach 171 bil­lion cu­bic me­ters, most of which will be LNG.”

Ac­cord­ing to a re­port re­leased by the Sinopec Eco­nomics & De­vel­op­ment Re­search In­sti­tute, it is es­ti­mated that China’s nat­u­ral gas con­sump­tion in 2018 will reach 277 bil­lion cu­bic me­ters, surg­ing 17 per­cent, or 40 bil­lion cu­bic me­ters, on a year-on-year ba­sis. This will ac­count for 8 per­cent of the na­tion’s pri­mary en­ergy con­sump­tion.

Ur­ban gas, in­dus­trial gas and power gen­er­a­tion are the three main driv­ing forces of nat­u­ral gas con­sump­tion growth, ac­count­ing for 39 per­cent, 33 per­cent and 18 per­cent of to­tal con­sump­tion, re­spec­tively. Gas for chem­i­cal use had the small­est share, at 10 per­cent.

PRO­VIDED TO CHINA DAILY

A Sinopec em­ployee op­er­ates LNG fa­cil­i­ties in Tian­jin.

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