Sinopec to Up Winter Gas supply, PetroChina Boosts Imports
Sinopec to hike nat gas supply to domestic users November-March.
China's Sinopec Corp plans to supply 11 percent more natural gas to domestic users between November and March, versus year-ago levels, while PetroChina (PCCYF) has boosted gas imports to meet rising demand for heating purposes over the winter months.
China faced a severe gas shortage last year as consumption peaked during winter in the world's top energy user, compelling it to ration and suspend supply to some industries in order to guarantee sufficient stock for home and transport use.
This year, Sinopec plans to raise gas supplies to 8.4 billion cubic metres (bcm) from November through March 2015, the country's No.2 energy company said in a statement on Monday.
The state-owned firm expects its 2014 gas output to climb 8 percent on year to 20 bcm, helped by supplies from main domestic conventional fields such as Zhongyuan and Sichuan as well as the newly started shale gas project at Fuling in Chongqing.
Domestic production levels have partly been aided by China's gas price reform that aims to hike prices of the cleaner-burning fuel at home to bring them closer to the cost of imports.
Top energy firm PetroChina, which supplies more than 70 percent of the total gas used by China, plans 60.7 bcm gas supply for this winter, Xinhua reported on Monday, citing a company spokesman. No comparative 2013 figure was given.
Chinese energy use peaks in winter, with power demand soaring and urban heating systems switching on throughout northern China, putting pressure on the country's coal and natural gas supplies, as well as its transportation network.
To avoid a shortage like last year, China will boost its natural gas imports during winter, top economic planner the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) said in November.
Sinopec opened its first terminal to receive liquefied natural gas imports in Qingdao earlier this month, largely on schedule.
PetroChina has raised gas imports since the middle of the year to 20.8 bcm, up more than 10 percent on year, Xinhua said.
But China's natural gas demand growth is seen easing in 2014 and dipping again in 2015 as a slowing economy and price hikes keep demand at levels below bullish forecasts.
Reporting by Chen Aizhu and Adam Rose