In May, regular service resumed and Chinese LNG imports increased y/y by 0.23 Mt (17%) to 1.58 Mt, after the surprise y/y reduction seen in April. Imports from Yemen (up by 0.13 Mt), Nigeria (up by 0.12 Mt) and Malaysia (up by 0.08 Mt) showed the biggest y/y gains while imports were only significantly lower from Indonesia (down by 0.24 Mt). Pipeline gas imports also saw healthy y/y growth of 0.43 Mt (27%), within which takes from Turkmenistan saw the biggest y/y increase, up by 0.28 Mt (20%). Total gas imports were higher y/y by 0.65 Mt (22%).
The main reason for the increase in gas imports was the weather-driven support from demand, as the country experienced 24% more HDDs y/y in May, and 16% more than the five-year average. The south of China also saw CDDs around the same level as last year, up some 7% on the five-year average. With the weather supporting demand, the newly added regasification plants started to increase imports over the month. The Zhuhai (Gongbei) plant in the south has now had two months in a row where it has accepted cargoes, indicative of the move into the peak summer power demand period in the south of the country.
Chinese domestic gas production, meanwhile, grew y/y by 0.59 bcm (6.3%) to 9.89 bcm. Over the first five months of the year, domestic production growth has been at 5.1% y/y, higher than the 3.4% average in 2013.
The increase in gas use came with an increase in total power generation. Power generation was up y/y by 31.2 TWh (7.6%) in May and by 149 TWh (7.5%) over the first five months of the year. Thermal power generation increased y/y by 14.6 TWh (4.5%) in May, and is higher by 88.8 TWh (5.4%) over the first five months of the year. This came in spite of output from all other power sources also rising, with the largest proportional increase coming from renewable power, up by 19 TWh (37%) over the first five months of the year.
Over the first five months of the year, China has added almost 30 GW of generating plant, with 13 GW of that being thermal. This adds to the 36.5 GW of thermal added in 2013. Of the non-thermal plant, 8.4 GW has been hydro and 8 GW is other generating plant (nuclear and renewables).