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China's March natural gas pipeline imports rise 41.3% on year to 2.73 Bcm

Singapore — China imported 1.98 million mt of natural gas via pipeline in March, 41.3% higher than the same month last year, detailed data from the General Administration of Customs showed Thursday.

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The customs department reports natural gas trade data in metric tons, similar to LNG imports. March's pipeline imports equate to about 2.73 Bcm.

The increase was largely due to a 26.3% increase in inflows from Turkmenistan to 1.57 million mt.

China National Petroleum Corp. is responsible for importing gas from Turkmenistan's state-owned Turkmengas under a long-term deal expected to hit 65 Bcm/year by 2020.

CNPC also imports gas from Myanmar into China's southern Yunnan province and surrounding areas.

Total volumes from Myanmar in March were up 49.4% to 205,054 mt, the data showed.

China's imports of gas from Kazakhstan, where private company Xinjiang Guanghui imports some of its Kazakh equity production, fell 15.8% year on year to 18,600 mt last month.

March also saw the resumption of pipeline gas imports from Uzbekistan, which sent 187,482 mt in the month. Uzbekistan had previously not sent any LNG in January or February to China.

Taking into account LNG imports in March of 1.35 million mt, China's total gas imports were 3.3 million mt, a 15.5% jump year on year.

Discounting pipeline gas exports to Hong Kong and Macau, which amounted to 180 million cu m, and adding domestic production of 11.15 Bcm, China's apparent gas demand in March totaled 15.55 Bcm, rising 5.4% from the same month last year.

Over the first quarter of 2015, China's total gas imports were 11.81 million mt, comprising 6.7 million mt of pipeline gas and 5.1 million mt of LNG.

Adding domestic production of 33.61 Bcm and subtracting gas exports of 600 million cu m, apparent gas demand rose 6.6% year on year to 49.3 Bcm. Growth has slowed from the 13.5% witnessed over the same period of 2014.

--Max Gostelow,
--Edited by Jonathan Loades-Carter,