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Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 September 2018

China’s LNG imports surge to record amid winter heating crunch

China’s imports of liquefied natural gas in November climbed 53 per cent 

Cars lined up at a filling station for liquid natural gas (LNG) in Baoding, Hebei province, China. Thomas Peter / Reuters
Cars lined up at a filling station for liquid natural gas (LNG) in Baoding, Hebei province, China. Thomas Peter / Reuters

China’s imports of liquefied natural gas (LNG) in November surged 53 per cent to a record as the nation scrambles to meet fuel shortages amid peak winter demand and government’s drive to cut coal use.

LNG imports rose 53 per cent from the same month last year to 4.06 million metric tons, according to data posted Saturday on the website of the General Administration of Customs. Shipments in the first 11 months of the year are up 48.4 per cent while pipeline gas imports advanced 27.4 per cent to 2.5 million tonnes.

“Terminal operators have been maximizing their capacities to import as much as they can,” Liu Guangbin, an analyst with SCI International, said before the data release.

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China, the world’s largest energy user is facing a winter supply crunch after demand surged this year amid President Xi Jinping’s fight against smog, which has focused on cutting the use of coal in favor of cleaner-burning gas. Parts of the country started facing shortages just two weeks into winter, with Hebei and Shandong provinces in the north and central Hubei reporting supply shortfalls last month and curtailing supplies to businesses and factories in order to keep homes warm.

Spot LNG prices in Northeast Asia rose this week to $10.90 per million British thermal units, the highest in three years, according to industry publication World Gas Intelligence.

The National Development & Reform Commission, China’s top economic planner, last week reiterated its call for gas suppliers including China National Petroleum Corp. and China National Offshore Oil Corporation should speed up LNG imports to meet winter demand.

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