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CHINA DATA: Oct natural gas output hits second-highest monthly record

Singapore — China recorded 16.3 billion cubic m of domestic natural gas output in October, its second-highest monthly total as the country continues to boost investment in its upstream sector and cut its dependence on imports, according to official data.

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The natural gas produced in October was 11.6% higher from September and up 11.9% from a year ago, data released Nov. 16 by the National Bureau of Statistics showed.

The country's highest monthly natural gas output was at 16.9 Bcm in March, after which, production fell for four straights months and bottomed out in July-August, squeezed by lower-priced imported LNG, S&P Global Platts reported earlier.

Since then, China has gradually increased its production volumes as the price of imported pipeline gas and LNG rebounded, market sources said.

The country imported 7.53 million mt, or 10.38 Bcm, of natural gas, including LNG and piped gas, in October, down 13.1% on the month, data from the General Administration of Customs showed. This is expected to have provided more space for storage of domestically produced natural gas, market participants said.

China's demand for natural gas is also expected to improve as winter temperatures continue to dip, which will incentivize the production of domestic natural gas, part of which is being driven by shale gas volumes.

Among others, Sinopec's Fuling shale gas field reached a daily production of 20.6 Mcm on Oct. 31, the highest daily production from China's domestic shale gas fields, the state-owned oil and gas major said in a recent update.

Another state-owned oil and gas major, PetroChina, also reported daily shale gas production of 20.26 Mcm from the Changning block, in the southwest gas field, on Oct. 10, the company said in its latest operational update.

Over January-October, China produced 153.4 Bcm of natural gas, up 9% year on year, the NBS data showed. However, this is still lower than the 9.3% growth reported during the same period in 2019.

At its current pace, China will exceed its 2019 gas production volume and hit a new annual record.

China's production of natural gas, including unconventional natural gas, was 177.3 Bcm in 2019, an increase of 17 Bcm year on year, out of which 152.7 Bcm was conventional gas, 15.4 Bcm was shale gas, 5.5 Bcm was coal-bed methane, and 3.68 Bcm was coal gas production, according to government data.