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China will take in more natural gas from the United States to satisfy growing domestic demand, a Chinese consultancy has said amid trade talks between Washington and Beijing seeking to settle differences about a major U.S. trade deficit with Asia’s second-largest economy.
As China moves away from coal and replaces it with gas, the United States is among the producers that will benefit from the shift, ICIS China’s research director Li Li said as quoted by the Maritime Executive. The record-high gas production in the States and the rush to conquer foreign markets fits perfectly with China’s rising demand.
The latest LNG import figures from Beijing reveal that over the first four months of the year, LNG imports rose 58 percent on the year to 15.75 million tons as suppliers sought to respond to the growth in demand, with April shipments alone up 4.3 percent on March to 3.39 million tons.
China’s LNG import demand is estimated to grow 200 million tons annually by 2035, according to Greg Vesey, the chief executive of Australian LNG Ltd. This makes the country the most attractive LNG import market, followed by Europe, where LNG import demand is seen to grow 100 million tons annually.
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Last year, China became the second-largest LNG importer in the world after South Korea, receiving 39.1 million tons of the fuel, an annual increase of 42.3 percent, all thanks to the strategy of replacing coal with gas.
To date, the Untied States is the fifth-largest LNG exporter to China, with 2017 exports at 1.53 million tons. This is not a lot compared with the imports for just the four months of this year, but with demand set for the buoyant growth that analysts predict, the U.S. will be a natural choice to diversify sources of LNG supply.
By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com
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Irina is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing on the oil and gas industry.