Reuters are reporting that Chinese imports of both piped gas and LNG have hovered around record highs in winter months as residents in northern regions switch to the fuel for heating as part of Beijing’s drive to clean up the environment.
The massive government push to heat millions of homes and power thousands of factories with natural gas in northern China led to demand for the fuel outpacing supply, while delivery infrastructure struggled to manage the higher consumption.
Wang Wen, gas analyst with consultancy Wood Mackenzie, expects LNG imports to ease after the winter heating season ends in mid-March, but purchases could buck the usual seasonal trend.
“Let’s wait and see if the government is going to push wider the gasification campaign, or if there will be pent-up industrial demand emerging,” said Wang.
State-run energy giants such as PetroChina and CNOOC may also start stockpiling LNG in summer months to fill the storage tanks drawn down in peak winter season, she added.
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