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China to import 10 mln tons of LNG annually by 2010
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China will import 10 million tons of liquefied natural gas (LNG) annually by 2010 as domestic demand soars with more LNG projects beginning operation, said an engineer with the China Petroleum and Chemical Corp. (Sinopec).


The imports of LNG would surge after construction of new projects in Shanghai and southeastern Fujian Province was completed over the next three years, Yang Zhiyi, deputy chief engineer with Sinopec's natural gas subsidiary, told an ongoing forum on natural gas in Beijing.


China didn't start its imports of LNG until last year when its first LNG project was put into use in south China's city Shenzhen. The country imported 680,000 tons of LNG last year.


The Fujian project will receive 2.6 million tons of LNG annually from 2009 from Indonesia's Tangguh gas field, while the Shanghai project is expected to take in three million tons a year from Malaysia from 2012.


Earlier this year, PetroChina, the country's largest oil producer, agreed import deals with Royal Dutch Shell and Australia's Woodside Petroleum to buy four million tons of LNG annually over the next 20 years.


"Both deals were reached at international prices," said Tang Yali, deputy general manager with the natural gas unit of the China National Petroleum Corp., suggesting that China was paying higher prices to import LNG.


"The global LNG market has become a seller's market and LNG prices will continue to rise as international oil prices remain high," said Zhang Weiping, former deputy chief economist with the China National Offshore Oil Corp.


Yang also predicted that China was likely to face a great shortage of natural gas in the coming years even though the country would be capable of producing 90 billion cubic meters of gas and import another 20 billion cubic meters in 2010.


"Demand will exceed supply by 50 billion to 100 billion cubic meters in 2020," he said, adding that China would have to buy foreign gas to meet the soaring domestic demand.


(Xinhua News Agency November 10, 2007)

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