China’s natural gas market has great potential: Chinese executive

The demand for natural gas in China is ramping up due to energy structure adjustment and environment protection policy, a senior executive of a leading Chinese energy company has said.

Hou Qijun, vice president of China National Petroleum Cooperation, made the remarks during the Special Dialogue on China at the IHS Markit's CERAWeek that kicked off on Monday in Houston in the US state of Texas.

According to Hou, the Chinese government has made a great determination to adjust the energy structure, especially on implementing the Paris Agreement. The current share of natural gas in China's energy mix is relatively low, estimated at 7 to 8 percent, with a future target of 15 percent.

"During the stage of adjustment, China is expected to have a rising demand for natural gas, which is expected to reach an 8 percent annual growth rate by 2030," he noted.

Hou said that in the past few years, the Chinese government has combined energy structure adjustment with air pollution control, by intensifying the coal-to-gas project and promoting clean energy heating.

"Next, China will further expand the use of clean energy and raise the proportion of natural gas heating. As a result, the natural gas market has great potential in the future," he said.

According to the Chinese National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), China's imports of natural gas jumped in 2018. Natural gas imports came in at 90.39 million tonnes, rising 31.9 percent year on year.

Meanwhile, NBS data also showed that Chinese energy consumption structure continued to improve in 2018, with the consumption of clean energy including natural gas and hydropower accounting for 1.3 percentage points more of the total energy consumption, compared with the previous year.

The 38th CERAWeek is an annual energy meeting held by the London-based information company IHS Markit with the attendance of prominent speakers from energy, technology and financial sectors. This year's meeting was attended by more than 4,500 guests from over 70 countries and regions.

There is a special dialogue on China as well as several discussions designed to focus on Asian and Chinese energy market since China has become one of the largest energy consumption economies in the world.