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China's 2017 natural gas production rises 7.7%, Dec up 2.3%

Singapore β€” China's domestic natural gas output rose 7.7% year on year to reach 147.42 billion cubic meters in 2017, according to the National Bureau of Statistics of China (NBS).

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Domestic gas output has been rising through the current decade, registering a 56% jump from 94.48 Bcm in 2010.

In December alone, gas production stood at 13.61 Bcm, up 2.3% year on year and 7.8% on month and the highest monthly figure since 2010.

The growth in natural gas usage has accelerated in recent years against the backdrop of coal-to-gas switching policies spurred by the Chinese government designed to combat pollution.

Meanwhile, robust winter gas demand and widespread shortages in northern China have pushed average domestic trucked LNG prices in China up nearly 50% since mid-November, according to Shanghai Petroleum and Natural Gas Exchange, which monitors trucked LNG transactions from 50 LNG terminals and factories.

Domestic trucked LNG prices in the colder northern regions hit a record high of nearly Yuan 10,000/mt due to severe regional supply imbalances and infrastructure bottlenecks, according to sources.

However, the domestic price surge did not last long, with a rapid downward correction seen after the government eased restrictions on thermal coal usage for power generation coupled with the resumption in pipeline gas flows from Central Asia.

Average domestic trucked LNG prices in China reached a peak at Yuan 7,472/mt on December 22, 2017, before plunging 24.3% to Yuan 5,660/mt on January 19, according to Shanghai Petroleum and Natural Gas Exchange.

China's gas demand this year is estimated to be nearly 260 Bcm, state-owned company CNPC said recently.

--Shi Yun Fan,
--Edited Alisdair Bowles,