China’s gas imports are expected to rise on an annual basis during the summer, but a drop in piped supplies is limiting growth.
China’s total piped supplies were down to around 7.2 mt in Q1, a decline of 14% year on year. Piped imports from Turkmenistan and Myanmar have fallen since the start of the year, but the stoppage in flows from Uzbekistan has been the driving factor of the decline. Uzbek supplies reached around 636,000 tons in Q1 2016, accounting for 8% of China’s piped imports over the period. The stoppage is understood to be the result of political differences between Tashkent and Beijing over the future of the fourth Central Asia-China gas pipeline. Uzbekneftegaz has announced an indefinite delay to the line. Wider trade talks between Tashkent and Beijing took place in May, but it remains to be seen how the negotiations will affect gas flows.
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