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China’s LNG firms expected to buy 67 million tons this year
A group of niche Chinese gas firms consisting mostly of city gas distributors backed by local authorities is ramping up purchases of LNG that could lead to a record 67 million tons this year as factory and household demand surges.
China is forecast to surpass Japan as the world’s top buyer in 2022.
The leasing of distribution lines, terminals, and storage facilities of newly-formed national pipeline operator PipeChina beginning this month also spurred demand by Chinese firms for LNG.
Among the Chinese firms is Shanghai-based Shenergy Group, which signed a 15-year binding deal with UK’s Centrica for 0.5 million tons supply of LNG per year starting in 2024.
The increased purchases would be a boon for producers, such as Royal Dutch Shell, and Total and traders like Glencore faced who are faced with oversupply and depressed prices.
According to Kristine Leo, China country manager for Australia’s Woodside Energy, they have been talking with the Chinese firms, who were very, very interested in imports.
According to Chen Zhu, managing director of Beijing-based consultancy SIA Energy, State-owned Zhejiang Energy Group, Zhenhua Oil, Guangdong Energy Group, and private firms like ENN were quick to take advantage of low spot prices for LNG and market reforms.
He added that with greater access to distribution networks, they now have the incentive to build their import terminals that could account for 40 percent of China's LNG receiving capacity by 2030, from the current 15 percent.