Sep 19, 2020 04:37 PM

China’s Natural Gas Imports Set to Slow, Cutting Dependence on Foreign Sources


What’s new: Growth in China’s natural gas imports may slow this year, according to an official estimate released Friday.

Natural gas imports may reach around 140 billion cubic meters in 2020, the country’s energy watchdog and two state-backed research institutes said in a jointly released report (link in Chinese). That would represent annual growth of roughly 3.6%, down from 6.9% growth in 2019, according to Caixin calculations.

Why the slowdown? Although the pandemic-induced slowdown in demand growth is partly to blame, in recent years China has also stepped up efforts to reduce its dependence on foreign natural gas by boosting domestic output.

The country’s natural gas production grew 10.6% to a record high of 177.3 billion cubic meters last year, and is expected to increase another 9% this year, the report said. But consumption growth is set to fall to 4.2% this year from 8.6% in 2019 under the impact of Covid-19.

What’s the bigger picture? Global natural gas demand is expected to drop 4% this year, according to the International Energy Agency.

“Even if most of the 2020 losses are to be recovered in 2021, the Covid 19 crisis has longer-lasting impacts on natural gas demand growth,” the Paris-based intergovernmental organization said earlier this year.

Quick Takes are condensed versions of China-related stories for fast news you can use. To read the full story in Chinese, click here.

Related: China Opens Oil and Gas Exploration and Production to Private, Foreign Firms

Contact reporter Lin Jinbing ( and editor Matthew Walsh (

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