China approves natural gas development plan for 12th FYP to 2015

2012-10-30

China has approved the country's natural gas development strategies for the current 12th five-year economic plan to 2015, the National Development and Reform Commission said Friday.

The country's total natural gas consumption will hit roughly 230 billion cubic meters/year (22.2 Bcf/day) by 2015, while supply capacity will exceed 260 Bcm, the NDRC said in a report on its website. This includes gas imports and domestic unconventional gas sources such as coalbed methane, shale gas and synthetic coal to gas.

The targets were released at a national working conference on natural gas in Lianyungang, Jiangsu province, last Thursday to discuss the 12th Five Year Plan for natural gas. It was chaired by Liu Tienan, deputy director of the NDRC and head of the National Energy Administration, and attended by state oil and gas companies.

According to the report, Liu said the gas plan had been approved by the State Council and outlined strategies to increase the supply of resources, speed up pipeline networks and LNG import terminal construction. It also stressed long-term planning to balance supply with demand.

In 2013 the focus will be on eight objectives, including infrastructure construction, encouraging more private investment in the natural gas sector, continued development of domestic resources in the Sichuan and Ordos Basins and the development of shale gas.

Gas supply in 2012 will increase by about 4 Bcm during winter due to peak seasonal demand, Liu was reported as saying. However this will still be insufficient to meet demand, as consumption has been expanding rapidly and infrastructure is at peak capacity.

Liu warned the stability of gas supplies would be pressured if there was sustained cold weather in the coming months.

Total gas pipeline and LNG imports stood at 3.79 Bcm in September, up 28.9% year on year, according to customs data released last week.

Gas pipeline imports from Turkmenistan rose 37.5% year on year to 1.35 million mt, while Uzbekistan volumes totaled 15,244 mt in September after its imports started flowing in mid August.

Discounting exports of 0.42 Bcm to Hong Kong and adding domestic output of 8.2 Bcm -- up 7.5% year on year -- apparent gas demand was 11.57 Bcm in September, an increase of 14% year on year, according to Platts' calculations.

In the third quarter, China's apparent gas demand totaled 34.69 Bcm, an increase of 20.4% year on year, while demand over January to September totaled 104.13 Bcm, up 11.3% year on year.

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