China consumed 25 Bcm of natural gas in July, up 11.9% year on year, latest data from the National Development and Reform Commission showed, reflecting continuous effects of the country's energy policies which aimed at moving to cleaner burning fuel in a bid to reduce air pollution.
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China's natural gas demand is expected to keep growing in the coming years but may not be at a rate as high as the market earlier expected due to the economy slowdown and policy fine-tune, said market sources in both south and north China.
Over January-July, the country consumed a total 174.40 Bcm of natural gas, up 10.9% year on year, the data showed.
China's natural gas demand growth rates in both July and January-July were slower than the 19.1% and 17.8% registered in the same period last year, respectively, according to the NDRC's historical data.
China could fail to achieve its gas consumption target set in the 13th Five-Year Plan if the growth remains at the current rate, market sources noted.
The government targets to reach a domestic natural gas supply capacity of above 360 Bcm by 2020, and the proportion of natural gas in energy consumption mix to around 10% by 2020, according to China's 13th Five-Year Plan for natural gas.
On supply side, China produced 14 Bcm and 100.1 Bcm of natural gas in July and January-July, respectively, up 8.6% and 10.3% year on year, respectively, the data showed.
The country imported 11.40 Bcm and 76.1 Bcm of natural gas in July and in the first seven months of this year, up 16% and 11.6% year on year, respectively, the data said.
There was no month-on-month comparison for July as the NDRC did not provide the monthly data for June and May.
The commission used to release key data on natural gas output, imports and consumption on a monthly basis, but does not provide explanation for the changes.
S&P Global Platts calculates the data for the prior year based on the percentage changes provided by the NDRC.
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--Edited by Debiprasad Nayak, firstname.lastname@example.org