China's pipeline natural gas imports set a new record of 3.87 million mt in September, up 2.2% from the previous high of 3.79 million mt in August, showed latest data released Oct. 21 from the General Administration of Customs.
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China's pipeline gas imports have been setting new records in the past three months, and September was the fourth consecutive month-on-month increase since June, the customs data showed.
Stockpiling for the coming winter has driven up China's imports of natural gas in September, especially that of pipeline gas as its prices were far lower than imported LNG, market sources said.
The surge was also driven by China's pipeline gas imports from Kazakhstan that saw a significant month-on-month increase of 39% in September, while LNG imports from Russia saw a strong growth of 26.2% on the month to 632,449 mt, according to the data.
The average price of pipeline gas imported by China was estimated at $5.63/MMBtu in September, up slightly from $5.62/MMBtu in the previous month. Meanwhile, the average price of imported LNG, comprising both term and spot cargoes, was estimated at $11.64/MMBtu in September, up 10% month on month, and more than double the price of imported pipeline gas, calculations based on customs data showed.
The average imported LNG price rose for the fifth consecutive month in September, increasing 66.6% since April, while the average price of imported pipeline gas in September dropped 0.4% over the same period.
China imported 6.75 million mt of LNG in September, up 1.5% month on month, the customs data showed.
Australia, Turkmenistan and Russia remained the top three natural gas suppliers to China in September.
China's natural gas imports in Sep:
Source: General Administration of Customs