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在线翻译:
szdaily -> Business
LNG imports surge to record amid rising demand
    2017-December-25  08:53    Shenzhen Daily

CHINA’S imports of liquefied natural gas (LNG) in November surged 53 percent to a record as the nation scrambles to meet fuel shortages amid peak winter demand and government’s drive to cut coal use.

LNG imports rose 53 percent from the same month last year to 4.06 million tons, according to data posted Saturday on the website of the General Administration of Customs. Shipments in the first 11 months of the year are up 48.4 percent. Pipeline gas imports advanced 27.4 percent to 2.5 million tons.

“Terminal operators have been maximizing their capacities to import as much as they can,” Liu Guangbin, an analyst with SCI International, said before the data release.

The world’s largest energy user is facing a winter supply crunch after demand surged this year amid the government’s fight against pollution, which has focused on cutting the use of coal in favor of cleaner-burning gas.

Parts of the country started facing shortages just two weeks into winter, with Hebei and Shandong provinces in the north and central Hubei reporting supply shortfalls last month and curtailing supplies to businesses and factories in order to keep homes warm.

Spot LNG prices in Northeast Asia rose to US$10.90 per million British thermal units, the highest in three years, according to industry publication World Gas Intelligence.

The National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) last week reiterated its call for gas suppliers including China National Petroleum Corp. (CNPC) and China National Offshore Oil Corp. (CNOOC) should speed up LNG imports to meet winter demand.

CNPC, Sinopec and CNOOC were also asked by the country’s top economic planner to cut natural gas supplies to some industries by a total of about 15 million tons per day.

The announcement — covering makers of products such as chemicals, methanol and fertilizer — gave an indication of the targeted size of such cuts.

The Ministry of Environment has told northern regions that have not converted to gas or electric heating they may burn coal or other fuels instead, domestic media reported.

But suspending the project that stretches across 28 northern cities may have a limited impact as more than 4 million homes had already installed gas-fired radiators, while tens of thousands of factories have ripped out coal-fuelled boilers.

“It is not wrong for the government to push the coal-to-gas switch, but the process was a bit too fast and outpaced the market’s capacity,” said Xu Bo, a researcher with CNPC’s Research Institute of Economics and Technology.

Meng Wei, spokeswoman for the NDRC, said that China planned to purchase 3.5 billion tons of liquefied natural gas in overseas markets in addition to its original plan to import 24.5 billion tons over the winter.

(SD-Agencies)

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