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Mainland moves to use more natural gas

China Daily | Updated: 2016-12-22 08:18

Nation will become more dependent on imported energy

China Petrochemical Corp, Sinopec, aims to sell around 10 billion cubic meters of natural gas during the heating season to meet rising demand.

The company plans to sell 9.994 billion cubic meters of natural gas, a year-on-year 27 percent increase compared with 7.89 billion cubic meters last year, the company said in a statement.

Natural gas demand in northern China during the heating season is expected to be three times that of the non-heating seasons, the company said.

According to BMI Research, which provides macroeconomic, industry and financial market analysis, the outlook for natural gas in China remains positive, with average annual growth over 2016-25 expected to come in at 5 percent. Both production and consumption are set to experience healthy growth over the next decade.

As the country's rising energy needs will not be met by domestic production, China will become increasingly dependent on crude oil and natural gas imports, according to BMI.

All of Sinopec's upstream gas fields are now in full load production. The company is also speeding up the infrastructure construction now under way, including the pipelines in Tianjin and the Sichuan-to-East China gas pipeline projects in order to make sure these can be put into operation by the end of the year.

According to Qu Guangxue, spokesman for PetroChina, which supplies 71 percent of the country's natural gas, the company imports some 44 billion cubic meters of natural gas each year, 20 percent of its total sales.

Sinopec will import 21 shiploads of liquefied natural gas between December 2016 and February 2017 to meet soaring demand, it said.

Figures from the customs office, on Wednesday, reveal that China's November LNG imports jumped 46.6 percent from a year earlier to 2.66 million metric tons, the highest level on record.

China has quickly risen to the top ranks in global energy demand over the past few years. The country's shift to a cleaner energy structure has also ensured a growing demand for natural gas in the past few years.

BMI Research says longer-term growth will be driven by greater exploitation of unconventional energy sources, such as shale and coal-bed methane.

According to Sinopec, the Fuling shale gas project in the Sichuan Basin of Southwest China, which commenced production in 2015, now has an annual capacity of 5 billion cubic meters.

The project, China's largest shale gas project to date, is planning to boost its shale gas output capacity to 10 billion cubic meters by 2017, the research said.

According to Wang Zizong, deputy chief engineer of Sinopec Group, the company will ensure 20 smokeless cities in China using geothermal technologies during the 13th Five-Year-Plan (2016-20) period. This will increase geothermal heating and cooling capacity by 100 million square meters and 500 MW of installed geothermal capacity.

Sinopec built China's first smokeless town using geothermal power in Xiong county of Hebei province, making it a replicable and sustainable demonstration project.

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