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China seen having 50 Bcm of excess natural gas by 2020: CNPC

Tokyo — China could potentially have a surplus 50 Bcm of natural gas by 2020 as LNG supply through long-term contracts grows and importing pipeline capacity increase, a senior economist at CNPC Research Institute of Economics and Technology said Wednesday.

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China's LNG imports are expected to rise to more than 40 million mt/year (55 Bcm) by 2020 and more than 50 million mt/year (70 Bcm) by 2030, from 19.65 million mt (27 Bcm) in 2015, Feng Chenyue, senior economist at CNPC Research Institute of Economics and Technology's gas market department, told the 10th IEEJ/CNPC research meeting in Tokyo.

China also has 11 LNG receiving terminals in operation with 40.8 million mt/year capacity, with six new terminals currently under construction and three expanding capacity, she added.

The capacity of all importing pipelines totaled 67 Bcm by 2015 with the utilization rate at around 50%. By 2020, the capacity is expected to grow to 100 Bcm and import volume to hit 65 Bcm, according to Feng.

Against the total 120 Bcm imported gas and LNG and 220 Bcm domestic gas supply in 2020, demand is likely to expand to 290 Bcm in 2020 from 192 Bcm in 2015, creating a potential 50 Bcm glut, according to Feng.

But China's gas market is still relatively young and has the potential to grow further, with coal to gas switching creating demand for more gas, she said.

--Eriko Amaha, eriko.amaha@spglobal.com
--Edited by Jeremy Lovell, jeremy.lovell@spglobal.com