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China’s LNG terminals underutilised

Shanghai: Despite all the bluster surrounding China’s LNG demand, a study by Russian newswire Interfax shows that China used just over half its LNG regasification capacity in 2014, as tariff hikes and cheaper competing fuels hit gas demand growth.

Ten of China’s 12 operational LNG terminals were online for the full year and they used an average of 55% of their capacity, based on total imports of 19.5 mt. China’s regasification capacity is around 35 mtpa. The figures were down on 2013 when the then seven operational terminals had a 67.2% utilisation rate.

CNOOC had both the busiest and the most idle terminals. The least used were Zhuhai and the Tianjin FSRU, both of which had utilisation rates of only 10% in 2014. The busiest terminal in 2014 was CNOOC’s 3 mtpa Shanghai LNG facility. It received 2.94 mt, a utilisation rate of 98%.

Despite the overall sluggish utilisation rates, BP’s latest energy outlook for 2035 paints a very bullish picture of Chinese LNG demand.
The report released on Tuesday, stated: “Chinese demand growth requires a rapid expansion of imports (7.6 per cent) via both LNG and pipelines. LNG overtakes pipeline supplies as the dominant form of Chinese gas imports by the 2030s”.

Sam Chambers

Starting out with the Informa Group in 2000 in Hong Kong, Sam Chambers became editor of Maritime Asia magazine as well as East Asia Editor for the world’s oldest newspaper, Lloyd’s List. In 2005 he pursued a freelance career and wrote for a variety of titles including taking on the role of Asia Editor at Seatrade magazine and China correspondent for Supply Chain Asia. His work has also appeared in The Economist, The New York Times, The Sunday Times and The International Herald Tribune.
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