China gas data - March 2015

Published at 17:21 22 Apr 2015 by . Last edited 09:30 20 Apr 2016.

In March, Chinese LNG imports were down y/y by 0.13 Mt (-9%) to 1.35 Mt. This followed February, when imports were higher y/y by 0.16 Mt (11%) at 1.66 Mt. Over the first three months of the year, LNG imports were down by 0.5 Mt (-9%) y/y.

In March, pipeline gas imports were up y/y by 0.58 Mt (41%). As a result, total gas imports into China were higher y/y by 0.45 Mt (15%). The increase in gas imports came even as China experienced another month of mild weather in March, with HDDs up by 2% y/y, but 9% below the five-year average. Chinese gas demand numbers for March have yet to be published, but in February, demand was up by 0.4 bcm y/y (3%).

In terms of supply sources:

  • Chinese domestic gas production grew y/y by 70 mcm (1%) in February and 0.2 bcm (2%) in March.
  • Pipeline imports from Turkmenistan increased again y/y by 0.33 Mt (26%), while imports from Kazakhstan declined y/y. Imports from Myanmar increased y/y by 0.07 Mt (49%).
  • LNG imports from Qatar continued to fall, down y/y by 0.2 Mt (-37%) y/y. Indonesian imports were also down by 0.03 Mt (-16%) y/y. Imports from Malaysia were largely flat y/y, while imports from Australia increased y/y by 0.06 Mt (24%).

While demand rose y/y in February, we expect most of that was due to the build out of capacity in the urban gas sector. As such, while total heating demand was likely to be down, the share of gas in that sector is likely to be up. The same cannot be said for power sector gas demand, which looks like it is struggling for traction.

Over the first three months of 2015, total power generation in China increased by 38 TWh (5%) y/y. So far in 2015, thermal generation is down by 14 TWh (-1%) y/y, while hydro is up by 26 TWh (18%). March data for nuclear have not been released, but nuclear generation was up by 6 TWh (34%) y/y through February, owing to capacity additions in 2014.

Over Q1 15, China added 18 GW of generating plants, with 10 GW thermal, 2 GW hydro, 5 GW solar and 2 GW nuclear and other renewables.

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