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)