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China on Course for Record LNG Imports as Industries Recover Expand

Kategori : NATURAL GAS ENERGY NEWS, ENERGY AGENDA NEWS - Tarih : 02 October 2020


China’s imports of liquefied natural gas will likely grow 10% to new highs this year as companies scoop up cheap supplies to cover increasing industrial use and robust residential demand.

With its total natural gas use likely expanding at 4-6% this year, China is the only major bright spot on the world gas market, where demand is set to fall by about 4% as the global economy contracts due to coronavirus lockdowns.

LNG imports are set to hit a record 65-67 million tonnes this year, analysts and Chinese traders estimate, a tenth more than 2019’s total and at a growth rate that could see China overtake Japan as the world’s top buyer by 2022.

Some analysts believe China’s economy is now pretty much back to its pre-virus growth path.

“After taking a brief hit earlier this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, China’s gas demand recovered faster than expected, driven mostly by the industrial sector that has recovered to 2019 levels since May, ” said Alicia Wee, analyst at FGE.

Companies booked more super-chilled gas from Qatar, Russia and Australia, taking advantage of record-low prices LNG-AS earlier in the year as demand sagged elsewhere.

China sees natural gas as a bridge fuel on its long journey to reach carbon neutral by 2060, and since 2016 has switched millions of homes and thousands of factories to gas from coal.

The gasification pace slowed along with the economy since 2019, but new pockets of industrial demand have emerged in manufacturing hubs like south China’s Guangdong and east China’s Shandong provinces.

In Guangdong, China’s first region to import LNG, authorities are pushing ceramic and glass makers to burn gas instead of coal, which will likely generate up to 8 billion cubic metres of fresh gas demand this year, or 2.6% of the national total, according to a report carried this week by the Shanghai Oil and Gas Exchange.


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