China to boost LNG imports to meet winter demand


BEIJING -- China National Petroleum Corp. will import an additional 400 million cubic meters of liquefied natural gas via the spot market in the first quarter of 2013, to meet winter heating demand, a company spokesperson said in a Xinhua news agency report this week. 

The state-owned company -- China's largest energy producer -- is also increasing output at its gas fields, due to a "severe" supply shortage caused by periods of heavy snow and low temperatures.

Xinhua didn't say how much LNG the company planned to import before deciding on an additional amount. In the first quarter of 2012, it imported 3.25 million metric tons, or 4.5 billion cubic meters, customs data showed.

The National Development and Reform Commission, China's top economic planning body, called on energy companies last week to ensure supplies and maximum output to cope with winter demand. China imports LNG primarily from Qatar, Australia, Indonesia and Malaysia.

CNPC's gas fields are operating at maximum capacity, the spokesperson said in the Xinhua report. It has increased daily output at fields in Changqing, Tarim and Qinghai by 8 million cubic meters, the person said, without specifying whether this was for each field or a combined total.

It has also raised the amount of piped natural gas it planned to import from Turkmenistan in 2012 by 550 million cubic meters to 23.55 billion cubic meters, the spokesperson said.

The company is also raising its natural gas storage capabilities to 24 million cubic meters a day, the spokesperson said, without providing a time frame or the current level.

Dow Jones Newswires

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