Industry plays down China’s demand for US LNG

By Colin Shek and Tang Tian 17 May 2017
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Tianjin LNG terminal. China has received a total of nine cargoes from the US so far. (CNOOC) Tianjin LNG terminal. China has received a total of nine cargoes from the US so far. (CNOOC)

Chinese LNG importers have played down expectations of a surge in exports to China from the United States in the near term, following last week’s deal to promote LNG as a cornerstone of trade between the world’s biggest economies.

“My feeling is [imports will increase] after 2025,” Chen Bo, president of Unipec, the trading arm of state-owned Sinopec, told Interfax Natural Gas Daily on Wednesday on the sidelines of the China LNG & Gas International Summit in Beijing. The earliest Chinese companies will consider buying long-term supplies from the US is likely to be 2022, Chen added.

A source at a state Chinese LNG importer told Interfax Natural Gas Daily that large volumes of US LNG would not arrive until near the end of next decade as China is already importing more than it needs. But Chen was more upbeat over the long-term outlook, saying China’s rising LNG demand will be met mainly by Australia and the US in the future, along with Qatar.

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