China's state-controlled energy firms are expecting domestic gas demand growth to accelerate this year, as the economy recovers and consumption of the fuel is boosted by the country's transition to lower-carbon energy sources.
China's apparent gas demand is likely to reach 350bn-356bn m³ this year, up by around 9-10pc from 2020, Hou Chuangye, vice president of top producer PetroChina's gas sales unit said this week.
Hou sees higher demand from the gas-fired power sector as a back-up for base-load renewables output, which will lead to an increase in installed gas-fired capacity as China works towards meeting its peak emissions goals.
PetroChina will co-operate more closely with the country's major state-owned electricity generators to boost utilisation of gas-fired power plants, he said.
State-controlled Sinopec forecasts that China's gas demand will increase to 350bn-360bn m³ this year, 9-12pc higher than the company's estimate of consumption in 2020, officials from the company's gas sales unit said. The growth will be driven by demand from the gas-fired power and industrial sectors.
China's apparent gas consumption was 326.2bn m³ last year, up by 7.2pc from 2019, according to official figures from the national bureau of statistics (NBS). Consumption picked up after taking a hit from the country's Covid-19 outbreak in the first quarter.
Domestic gas output was 192.5bn m³ last year, up by 9.8pc, while imports rose by 5.3pc to 101.66mn t or 140.3bn m³.
China's top energy planning authority the NEA has set a domestic gas production target of 202.5bn m³, which would be up by 5.2pc on 2020. PetroChina's state-owned parent company CNPC is planning to produce 133.8bn m³ from its domestic fields this year and has set a preliminary import target of 70bn m³. Sinopec is aiming to produce 34bn m³ of gas and import 17.4mn t of LNG this year.