In September, similar to August, Chinese LNG imports fell y/y by 0.12 Mt (-8.1%) to 1.39 Mt. Imports from Indonesia, Malaysia and Qatar fell y/y by 0.06 Mt (-31%), 0.03 Mt (-15%) and 0.16 Mt (-30%) respectively, while imports from Australia grew again y/y by 0.06 Mt (19%). Pipeline gas imports on the other hand, grew y/y for the sixth month a row by 0.07 Mt (3.7%). Takes from Turkmenistan saw their first y/y reduction in five months, down by 0.01 Mt (-1%), while stronger imports from Uzbekistan, up by 0.09 Mt (53%), kept the y/y growth rate for total pipeline takes in positive territory.
As a result, total gas imports for China were at 3.37 Mt in September, which is marginally lower y/y by 0.05 Mt (-1.5%). Chinese domestic gas production, meanwhile, grew y/y by another 1.0 bcm (12%) to 9.50 bcm. Over the first nine months of the year, domestic production has grown by 7.22 bcm (8.6%) y/y.
The decline in gas imports came against an increase in total power generation. Power generation was up y/y by 23.2 TWh (5.4%) in September, while thermal generation fell by 17.8 TWh (-5.4%) y/y over the same period. The decline in thermal generation was made up for by strong increases in hydro and nuclear generation, up y/y by 36 TWh (46%) and 2.5 TWh (24%) respectively. Output from all other power sources also increased by another 2.3 TWh (24%) y/y.
The decline in LNG imports can be linked to lower demand on the shoulder month of September, and the decline in thermal power generation that came from good hydro levels. Higher LNG prices, which were at 14.1 $/mmbtu in September, compared to July lows of 10.1 $/mmbtu, also meant higher LNG takes for power would be less competitive for China over that period.
Over the first nine months of the year, China has added 54 GW of generating plants, with 26 GW of that thermal. This adds to the 36.5 GW of thermal added in 2013. Of the non-thermal plants, 16 GW is hydro and 12 GW is both nuclear and renewables.