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Tsvetana Paraskova

Tsvetana Paraskova

Tsvetana is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing for news outlets such as iNVEZZ and SeeNews. 

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China’s Gas Demand Growth Slows Significantly

Natural gas consumption in China rose by 4 percent year on year in November 2019—a much slower growth pace than the 20-percent rise in November 2018, in a sign that Chinese gas demand growth has slowed down significantly over the past year.

According to the latest data from China’s National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) quoted by S&P Global Platts, the growth in Chinese natural gas consumption between January and November 2019 was 9 percent on the year, compared to 18.2-percent growth in the period January to November 2018.

Natural gas consumption in November 2019 rose by 14.5 percent compared to October because of the seasonal winter demand, according to Platts estimates.

Still, the slower growth in natural gas consumption has been evident this past year due to slower overall economic growth in China and the less-aggressive policy of switching millions of users from coal-fired to natural gas-fired heating and power supply.

Thanks to the coal-to-gas switch, China became the world’s second-biggest LNG importer in 2017, surpassing South Korea, and is currently second only to Japan.

In 2019, Chinese natural gas imports, including liquefied natural gas (LNG) and pipeline supplies, continued to grow, but at a slower pace.

In November 2019, imports increased by 3.3 percent year on year, while imports between January and November rose by 7.4 percent compared to January-November 2018, according to data from China’s General Administration of Customs.

Demand for natural gas in China will continue to grow in the coming years as Beijing favors increased use of cleaner-burning natural gas to clamp down on stifling pollution levels.

Yet, the growth pace has slowed over the past year. Government estimates showed in September that Chinese natural gas consumption would grow by 10 percent in 2019, lower compared to the 17.5-percent consumption increase in 2018, yet Chinese demand is expected to continue to grow until 2050.  

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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  • Mamdouh Salameh on January 02 2020 said:
    In 2018 China enforced an aggressive policy of switching millions of users from coal-fired to natural gas-fired heating and power supply but it encountered a very harsh winter thus forcing it to import huge amounts of both LNG and natural gas. This worsened an already existing smog problem.

    In anticipation of another harsh winter in 2019, China implemented a less-aggressive policy of a shift from coal to gas thus creating a lesser demand for gas and LNG than in 2019.

    Therefore, the decline in China’s gas imports in 2019 was not the result of slower overall economic growth as the author of the article claimed since China’s economy grew in 2019 at a healthy 6.1%, as in 2018.

    Dr Mamdouh G Salameh
    International Oil Economist
    Visiting Professor of Energy Economics at ESCP Europe Business School, London

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