China's gas demand to rise to 580-670 bcm by 2030

China’s gas demand will more than double by 2030 with the industrial sector the largest user at 26-30 percent of total consumption by that time, a Chinese official said.

China's gas demand to rise to 580-670 bcm by 2030

Liu Xiaoli, a professor at China’sEnergy Research Institute, said total gas demand would grow by 7.7 to 8.6 percent a year between 2015 and 2030, reaching 580 to 670 billion cubic metres (bcm) in 12 years’ time.

China recently decided to reduce air pollution, prompting a government-mandated switch to cleaner gas from coal for heating in parts of the country — part of a so-called “Blue Sky” initiative. This has led to a spike in its gas consumption and imports of liquefied natural gas (LNG).

Liu told delegates at an LNG conference in London 80 cities would be covered by the next phase of the “Blue Sky” initiative from 29 cities last year, covering a third of China’s population and 40 percent of its gross domestic production.

While the industrial sector will be the biggest consumer of gas in China by 2030, with a rise to 175 bcm from 72.7 bcm in 2017, the power sector will be the biggest growth driver, she said.

“The power sector will be the biggest contributor to incremental gas demand and newly incremental gas demand will be around 110 bcm for the outlook period,” she said.

Installed gas-fired power capacity will jump 44 percent between 2017 and 2020 to 110 gigawatts (GW) from 76.3 GW and will more than triple to 250 GW by 2030.

Liu said China would no longer expand coal-fired power generation after 2020, with thermal power generated by new gas-fired plants.

The breakdown of Chinese statistics and forecasts such as these from Liu is eagerly watched by the industry as such data from China are rare, delegates at the conference said.

China’s scale is such that relatively fringe developments in the global gas industry are magnified — Chinese LNG and compressed natural gas (CNG) fuelled vehicles, for example, consumed 17.6 bcm of gas last year — more than the entire gas consumption of Belgium or all of France’s LNG imports.

Nevertheless, such huge increases in gas consumption would not automatically translate to an equal boon for the LNG market.

Liu underscored China’s focus on developing its domestic gas reserves — she said 44 percent of its proven reserves were as yet undeveloped, with some 3.9 trillion cubic metres of gas remaining economically recoverable with current technologies.

Domestic gas production will increase to between 170 bcm to 200 bcm by 2020 from 148 bcm in 2017 and to 260 to 310 bcm by 2030, she said.