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December 26, 2017

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Demand lifts LNG prices by 6.4%

China’s liquefied natural gas prices grew 6.4 percent in mid-December amid surging winter demand, the National Bureau of Statistics said yesterday.

The price of LNG was around 7,409.80 yuan (US$1,127) per ton nationwide from December 11 to 20, up 6.4 percent from the first 10 days of this month, according to the bureau.

Demand nationwide, especially in north China, has surged in winter boosted by policies to promote the shift from burning coal to using gas for heating, “which has been faster than expected,” said Zhang Yuqing, former deputy director of the National Energy Administration.

Natural gas consumption in Jiangsu, Hebei, Shandong, Henan and Sichuan provinces, which have encouraged the switch from coal to gas, has grown more than 20 percent year on year in 2017, reported Shanghai Securities News.

Natural gas consumption grew 7 percent for the whole of 2016, data from the National Development and Reform Commission showed.

China suffered a supply shortage amid the rise in demand, prompting energy giants such as Sinopec and China National Petroleum Corp to accelerate exploration and import of natural gas to meet the growing domestic appetite.

Sinopec said yesterday that it will increase natural gas production by 1.1 million cubic meters per day in January by working at full capacity.

An official inspection has found about 5.6 percent of villages in north China’s 28 cities had reported a shortage of natural gas supply for winter heating.

Inspection teams in these cities that are located in or near the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region found that 426,000 households in 1,208 villages had faced natural gas shortage after their homes were heated with gas instead of coal, the Ministry of Environmental Protection said in an online statement.

Officials took measures such as increasing gas supply or temporarily heating the homes with coal to ensure all the residents in these villages enjoy a warm winter as of Wednesday night.

To make the air cleaner, China has been replacing coal-fired boilers with natural gas and electricity-powered boilers in the smog-plagued northern region.

Over 4.7 million households in 21,516 villages in the inspected region have completed the coal-to-gas or coal-to-electricity conversion, 3.94 million of which finished the switch this year, according to the ministry.

China is intensifying efforts to fight pollution and environmental degradation after decades of growth left the country saddled with problems such as smog and contaminated soil.

Tackling pollution has also been listed as one of “the three tough battles” that China aims to win in the next three years, according to the Central Economic Work Conference, which concluded earlier this month.

Thanks to the initiatives, China’s northern region has been enjoying cleaner air this winter.


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