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Despite High Production of Shale Gas, China Is Still the World's Biggest Importer of Natural Gas

January 3, 2018



Changbei gas field in Shaanxi province



2.47 bln cubic meters of shale gas produced in SW China area in 2017


Editor: Xiang Bo

CHENGDU, Jan. 3 (Xinhua) --

The Changning-Weiyuan national shale gas demonstration zone developed by PetroChina Southwest Oil & Gas Field Company generated more than 2.4 billion cubic meters of shale gas in 2017, the company said Wednesday.

By 2017, the state-level demonstration zone had 163 shale gas wells in production, generating 8 million cubic meters of shale gas each day. Its output accounted for 98.9 percent of the company's total production of 3 billion cubic meters in Sichuan in 2017.

The shale gas-rich Sichuan Basin in southwest China produced about one-third of the country's total shale gas in 2017. The new industry also helped the region to improve its energy structure and shift away from traditional energy sources such as coal.

It is estimated that 3 billion cubic meters of shale gas is equivalent to burning 6 million tonnes of coal, reducing carbon dioxide emissions by 4.2 million tonnes.

China has made breakthroughs in shale gas exploration both in capacity and drilling techniques, making it one of the top shale gas suppliers in the world.

By 2020, proven reserves of shale gas will surpass 1.5 trillion cubic meters, according to plans released by authorities in 2017.  


China set to top Japan as world's biggest natural gas importer

Henning Gloystein

January 3, 2018 / 12:50 AM

SINGAPORE (Reuters) -

Beijing’s crackdown on pollution has put China on track to overtake Japan this year as the world’s biggest importer of natural gas, used to replace dirtier coal.

A logo of liquefied natural gas (LNG) is pictured on a LNG truck outside a heavy-duty truck shop in Yutian county, China's Hebei province September 29, 2017. REUTERS/Jason Lee

China - already the biggest importer of oil and coal - is the world’s third biggest user of natural gas behind the United States and Russia, but has to import around 40 percent of its total needs as domestic production can’t keep up with demand.

Data compiled from the Thomson Reuters Eikon terminal indicates China’s 2017 imports of pipeline gas and liquefied natural gas (LNG) will top 67 million tonnes, up by more than a quarter from a year earlier. LNG imports alone surged more than 50 percent.

The data, which includes LNG tanker arrivals to China and pipeline monthly import flow estimates, is preliminary as December figures are not yet available.

China still lags Japan, with gas annual imports of around 83.5 million tonnes, all as LNG, but its overall gas imports topped Japan’s in September and again in November, government data and shipping flows show.

Analysts say the trend is set and China should top Japan for the full year in 2018.

“Both LNG and pipeline imports will continue to increase in the next few years. We expect China to overtake Japan as the world’s largest gas importer in 2018,” said Miaoru Huang, Asia gas and LNG senior manager at energy consultancy Wood Mackenzie.

“But Japan will remain as the No.1 LNG importer till around 2028,” she added.

China last year started to move millions of households and many industrial facilities from coal to gas as part of efforts to clean its skies, sparking an unprecedented rally in overseas import orders.

China’s three biggest LNG suppliers are Australia, Qatar and Malaysia, while pipeline imports come from Central Asia and Myanmar. A pipeline connecting China to Russia is under construction.

Unlike established LNG importers which import the bulk of their cargoes under long-term contracts with fixed monthly volumes and a link to the oil market, many Chinese utilities buy LNG in the spot market when they need it at short notice, such as the current peak demand winter season.

As a result, Asian spot LNG prices LNG-AS have more than doubled since June to $11.20 per million British thermal units (mmBtu), their highest since November 2014, making LNG one of 2017’s strongest performing commodities.

China’s surging demand already pushed it past South Korea in 2017 as the world’s number 2 LNG importer.

Reporting by Henning Gloystein; editing by Richard Pullin


Oil hits 2-1/2-highs on Iran tensions, upbeat economic data

Devika Krishna Kumar

January 2, 2018 / 9:00 PM / Updated an hour ago

LONDON (Reuters) -

Oil prices rose nearly 2 percent on Wednesday to the highest in 2-1/2 years, with buying spurred on by a sixth day of unrest in OPEC member Iran and strong economic data from the United States and Germany.

Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards have deployed forces to three provinces to put down anti-government unrest, their commander said on Wednesday. Six days of protests have left 21 people dead.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures CLc1 were at $61.35 barrel, 98 cents or 1.6 percent at 11:06 a.m. EST (1607 GMT), just off the session high of $61.50, their highest since June 2015.

International benchmark Brent crude futures LCOc1 were up 89 cents or 1.3 percent at $67.46 a barrel after touching $67.62 a barrel, the highest since May 2015.

“While the Iran tensions are certainly a factor, the slew of remarkably strong economic data today is also forcing the rally,” said John Kilduff, partner at Again Capital LLC in New York.

“Record low unemployment in Germany and the sky-high ISM manufacturing reading reinforces that demand for energy will continue to grow in robust fashion ... It’s a multi-asset rally, which crude oil is caught up in today.”

Germany’s unemployment rate hit a record low in December, underpinning a broad-based economic upswing. U.S. factory activity increased more than expected in December, a further sign of strong economic momentum.

Manufacturing and construction reports also fueled expectations for a robust U.S. economy in 2018. The Dow Jones Industrial Average hit a record high.

U.S. heating oil prices got a boost from frigid weather on the East Coast, which has drawn a number of tankers carrying diesel and heating oil from Europe, reversing a traditional trade route.

Ole Hansen, head of commodity strategy at Denmark’s Saxo Bank, warned that ”multiple but temporary supply disruptions“ like the North Sea Forties and Libyan pipeline outages (and) protests across Iran ... helped create a record speculative long bet.”

With pipeline outages resolved and protests in Iran showing no signs of affecting its oil production yet, Hansen said prices could fall in early 2018, especially with rising U.S. output.

“It is only a matter of time before the 10 million barrel per day (bpd) (U.S.) production target will be reached,” Hansen said.

Supplies were healthy. U.S. oil production C-OUT-T-EIA has risen by almost 16 percent since the middle of 2016, hitting 9.75 million bpd at the end of last year.

Some were concerned Russia may not keep its pledge to cut output by 300,000 bpd from the 30-year monthly high of 11.247 million bpd hit in October 2016. The latest data for 2017 showed Russian output rose to an average of 10.98 million bpd from 10.96 million bpd in 2016 and 10.72 million bpd in 2015.

“Even though they have reduced that astronomical number, they are still producing more (in 2017 than in 2016),” said Matt Stanley, a fuel broker at Freight Investor Services (FIS) in Dubai.

Commerzbank said in a note that despite the marginal annual increase Russia was still complying with its deal to cut output.

Additional reporting by Henning Gloystein and Oleg Vukmanovic; Editing by Christian Schmollinger and Adrian Croft

Our Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.


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