China's H1 gas consumption stood at 99.5 bcm
China’s natural gas demand in first half of 2016 was 99.5 billion cubic meters, an increase of 9.8%, CNPC said citing National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) data.
The demand growth seen in the first half is more robust than what was witnessed during the same period last year but still below the ten-year average. China's natural gas consumption growth in 2015, dropped to a ten year low at 3.7%. During the first of 2015 demand increased by only 2.1%. In the past decade, China's natural gas consumption has seen average annual growth rate of 16%, CNPC said earlier this week.
Late last year, the government slashed domestic gas prices to stimulate demand.
In the first quarter of 2016, China's natural gas consumption jumped due to peak winter season and low base. In January and February, demand grew by 17.6% and 18.5%, respectively. However, in the second quarter growth rate declined. April natural gas consumption in China was only 13.9 bcm, up only 3.5% on year. May natural gas consumption stood at 13.5 bcm, up 0.6%.
Experts believe the slowdown in the wider economy has pulled down the demand for natural gas, CNPC said.
Gu Anzhong of China Industrial Gases Industry Association Branch said two years ago the domestic LNG demand was pretty robust but in 2015 China’s 200 LNG plant operated at the rate of less than 50% indicating a slowdown in industrial gad demand.
China’s gas imports were strong in the first half of 2016 as global prices remained subdued. NDRC data showed that in the first half of this year imports of natural gas reached 35.6 bcm, an increase of 21.2%, while last year the growth rate was only 3.5%.
Gu Anzhong added that share of natural gas in China energy mix will surely go up and the country needs to further improve infrastructure to stimulate effective demand.