BEIJING: China’s natural gas imports rose last year and are expected to continue to increase in coming years as Beijing is increasingly using natural gas to replace dirtier coal in an effort to tackle air pollution from industrial and urbanization growth. According to a report by several Chinese state administrations and research centers, as carried by the Caixin Global outlet, Chinese natural gas imports rose by 6.6 percent last year, while domestic production increased a mere 1.7 percent. In 2016, natural gas imports represented a record 35 percent of total natural gas consumption, according to the report issued on Saturday.
Chinese natural gas consumption in 2016 accounted for 6.4 percent of its total energy consumption, while the global natural gas energy consumption represented 24.1 percent of all energy consumption. According to estimates by a think tank under China National Petroleum Corp (CNPC), Chinese natural gas consumption is seen rising by an annual 8.1 percent until 2030, compared to an expected 2.1-percent increase in global natural gas demand.
China is setting the stage for a spike in its natural gas imports as it proceeds with its agenda to replace dirtier fossil fuels like coal with cleaner-burning natural gas. The International Energy Agency said in July that China would account for 40 percent of the global annual growth in natural gas demand over the next five years. Imports of the bridge fuel in China are running at record rates as Beijing pushes on with its cleaner energy agenda that should see the country satisfy 10 percent of its energy needs with gas in 2020, from 5.9 percent in 2015. China’s LNG imports are surging, with imports this past May soaring 104 percent on the year. According to a recent report by Research and Markets, China’s LNG imports will continue to rise in 2017 through 2021, due to the limited growth potential of the domestic natural gas output.