China’s energy security: bets on diversification and traditional gas partners

China’s energy security: bets on diversification and traditional gas partners

China is successfully coping with overcoming the gas deficit in the winter by diversifying the sources of gas supplies, while the US falls out of the list of key gas exporters to China. The English-language Chinese newspaper Global Times writes about tendencies in diversification and alternatives to American LNG.

In 2018, the share of liquefied gas imports from the United States accounted for about 4% of the total gas purchases of China. However, amid trade wars ruffling between the world’s two major economies, China has halted construction of terminals to receive shipments of US liquefied natural gas.

In recent years, due to the efforts of the China o replace coal with more environmentally friendly fuel, natural gas consumption in the country has jumped, and imports continue to grow steadily.

Chinese industrial enterprises and households are supplied with gas, which is transported from Australia and Qatar by sea as a LNG. Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan remain traditional suppliers of pipeline gas. And by the way, as reported by the China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC), from 1 November, all three lines (A, B and C) of the Turkmenistan-China gas pipeline began to operate in the winter mode in order to ensure stable supply to the northern regions of China.

The launch of the Power of Siberia gas pipeline, which will deliver gas from the Yakut fields of Russia to China, is also nearing. As the Chinese foreign ministry recently confirmed, the commissioning ceremony of the Eastern branch of the gas pipeline will take place next month. When reaching full capacity approximately by 2024, the pipeline will supply up to 38 billion cubic meters per year.

“The opening of the route is of strategic important to China amid the ongoing trade war with the US and a complex international environment, in which uncertainties over maritime LNG shipments have multiplied. Securing supply from Russia mitigates such risks,” Jin Lei, an associate professor at the China University of Petroleum, told the Global Times on Sunday.

According to the expert, “The US is in the process of transforming itself from the world’s biggest importer of natural gas and oil into one of the world’s largest energy exporters. It has longed for the lion’s share in China’s fast-growing natural gas market to push forward the process. That hope seems difficult to realize now”.

In 2018, China consumed 280 billion cubic meters of natural gas. In May this year, CNPC stated that Turkmenistan shipped 36 billion cubic meters of gas to China in 2018. The construction and commissioning of the fourth line (Line D) of the Central Asia-China gas pipeline system will bring the Turkmen gas imports to China to 60-65 billion cubic meters.

Elvira KADYROVA