Gas supply adequate in mild winter, short-term pressure still possible

This winter and early spring, natural gas supply should be adequate, but pressures remain.

Photo by Cai Xingzhuo

Photo by Cai Xingzhuo

By YU Juan


In a mild winter, China’s natural gas supply is mostly stable, but shortfalls occasionally arise. There are issues to consider in terms of Central Asian imports and extreme weather.

That’s the opinion of officials from China's biggest energy companies: China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC), China Petroleum & Chemical Corporation (SINOPEC), China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC), and China Oil & Gas Pipeline Network Corporation (PipeChina). The assessment came during the fifth China winter gas summit hosted by the Chongqing Petroleum and Gas Exchange.

CNPC, SINOPEC, and CNOOC are the upstream suppliers, and PipeChina, unsurprisingly, manages the national oil and gas pipeline network and gas storage facilities.

Temperature plays a vital role in balancing natural gas supply and demand. Shen Yanbo, Chief Scientist at the China Meteorological Administration Public Service Center, explained at the conference that this winter is likely to be mild, with temperatures in most areas near or slightly above average.

But natural gas demand during the heating season will still be up, perhaps by more than 5 percent.

WU Yi, Deputy General Manager of the China Petroleum and Natural Gas Sales Company and Kunlun Energy, predicted that some regions may experience power outages this winter.

Representatives from CNPC, CNOOC, and PipeChina all pointed out the possibility of reduced gas supplies from Central Asia, adding uncertainty to the supply and demand situation.

WANG Xin, Deputy General Manager of the Resources and Market Department at CNOOC, expects LNG spot prices to rise as winter deepens, putting pressure on LNG spot purchases. Wang reported that CNOOC has already largely completed the signing of gas supply contracts for the heating season with domestic users.

PetroChina began winter supply assurance in June. SINOPEC’s supply assurance measures for this year include four new LNG storage tanks with a total capacity of 930,000 cubic meters and an LNG receiving station for 6 million tons of gas.

The National Energy Administration highlighted the commitment of major oil and gas firms to ensure supply and price stability, prioritize domestic resources and ensure stable heating-season supply.