China’s largest online portal for foreign exchange related news, CNFOREX, recently reported that, in 2018, China may surpass Japan to become the world’s largest importer of natural gas. China is currently the world’s largest importer of oil and coal. China is also the third largest natural gas consumer, after the United States and Russia. However, China’s domestic supply cannot meet its consumption needs. Today, around 40 percent of China’s natural gas depends on foreign suppliers. Thomson-Reuters-Eikon data showed that China’s combined pipeline and Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) imports in 2017 showed a year-over-year increase of 25 percent. In 2017, to remedy air pollution issues, the Chinese government has been pushing hard on the “Coal to Natural Gas Conversion.” If the movement continues, and based on the fact that China surpassed Japan in September and November on natural gas imports, it is reasonable to expect China will become the largest natural gas importer (pipeline and LNG combined) in 2018.
Source: CNFOREX, January 3, 2018