China’s growing gas market looks set to provide a boom for imports. After the moderate single-digit expansion seen in 2015 and 2016, the market is unlikely to return to the double-digit growth seen at the start of the decade. However, solid annual growth of 8-9% is expected to be seen over the next few years. This will result in a widening supply/demand gap as increases in production will be outstripped by rising demand despite the potential for improved domestic output. Imports of both piped gas and LNG will rise as China becomes increasingly dependent on foreign sources of supply.
China’s gas demand has made significant gains since the start of the year. The latest national statistics show demand increased by 22% year on year in April and growth averaged around 13% per month over the first four months of 2017. Although the pace of expansion is expected to slow over the coming months, growth this year looks set to be higher than in recent years.
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