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China's first import of Myanmar natural gas totals 15 mil cu m in Sep


China imported 10,874 mt of natural gas via pipeline from Myanmar in September, according to data from the General Administration of Customs made available Tuesday.

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This is the first time that gas imports from Myanmar have shown up in customs data since state-owned China National Petroleum Corp. opened the valves of the gas compressor station in Ruili in southwestern Yunnan province at the beginning of August.

But the volume, which works out to 15 million cubic meters of gas during the month, or an average 17,657 Mcf/d, is a fraction of CNPC's peak contracted offtake volumes of 400,000 Mcf/d.

Gas from Myanmar comes from the deepwater 500,000 Mcf/d Shwe gas field in the Bay of Bengal off Myanmar's western coast. Production started in mid-July, with initial volumes for the domestic market.

The gas is transported through the 739 km Myanmar-China gas pipeline, which is linked to CNPC's 1,727 km network in southwestern China.

CNPC said Monday that it had also commissioned a spur of the pipeline network linking to Guigang in neighboring Guangxi province.

From Central Asia, China also imported 1.17 million mt of gas from Turkmenistan in September, a 26.4% year on year increase, the data also showed.

Uzbekistan gas pipeline imports totaled 169,086 mt last month, compared with just 15,244 mt a year earlier.

China's current gas imports from Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan are transported via the Central Asia-China gas pipeline network that links with CNPC's Second West-East Pipeline in western Xinjiang province.

Gas imports from Kazakhstan, which totaled 21,855 mt in September, are sent via a pipeline owned by private company Xinjiang Guanghui Energy.

China's total gas imports via pipelines in September surged 39.8% year on year to 1.91 million mt. Coupled with total LNG imports of 1.52 million mt, the country's total gas and LNG imports rose 24.8% year on year to 3.42 million mt, or roughly 4.73 Bcm.

Subtracting gas exports of about 200 million cu m to Macau and Hong Kong and including domestic production of 8.5 Bcm, China's apparent demand for gas -- excluding any volumes held in storage -- was 13.03 Bcm in September, according to Platts' calculations. This is a 14.8% increase from September 2012.

Over January to September this year, gas imports -- including LNG volumes of 12.89 million mt -- totaled 27.54 million mt, a 34.3% year on year increase.

Taking into account domestic output of 82.78 Bcm and exports of 1.78 Bcm, apparent demand for gas over the first three quarters of the year totaled 119.01 Bcm, rising 16.7% year on year.

--Song Yen Ling,
--Edited by Alisdair Bowles,