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China now 2nd biggest importer of LNG as country switches from coal

2018-3-6

CHINA has become the world's second largest importer of liquefied natural gas (LNG), having overtaken South Korea, according to Chinese government statistics.


Chinese imports of LNG averaged five billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d) in 2017, exceeded only by Japanese imports of 11 Bcf/d. Imports of LNG by China, driven by government policies designed to reduce air pollution, rose by 46 per cent last year, with monthly imports reaching 7.8 Bcf/d in December.


China's imports of natural gas have primarily been driven by environmental policies to moved away from coal-fired electricity generation.


Beijing has also introduced policies to convert several million residential households in China's northern provinces from coal to natural gas-fired boilers.


China's natural gas consumption is expected to continue to increase on the back of environmental policies, import growth, increasing domestic production and growing demand.


Natural gas storage capacity in China is relatively limited, estimated at just three per cent of total natural gas consumption. China's seasonal peak demand is met primarily by natural gas imports, either by pipeline from Central Asia or by shipments of LNG, reported the American Journal of Transportation.


Overall, natural gas imports accounted for 40 per cent of China's 2017 natural gas supply and LNG made up half of those imports, according to data from IHS Markit, China National Development and Reform Commission, China Customs and the National Bureau of Statistics.


China has 17 LNG import terminals at 14 ports along its coastline, with a combined regasification capacity of 7.4 Bcf/d.


China's LNG import capacity is expected to reach 11.2 Bcf/d by 2021, once capacity expansions at existing terminals and new terminals currently under construction are completed, especially as the Siberia pipeline from Russia comes online by the end of 2019.

 
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