China's hunger for natural gas surging

Consumption of natural gas is expected to soar past 400 billion cubic meters a year by 2022, from 280 billion cubic meters last year.

China's hunger for natural gas is booming and is expected to pass 400 billion cubic meters by 2022 as the country presses ahead with its "Blue Sky" initiative.

Natural gas consumption surged 18.1 percent to 280.3 billion cubic meters last year, according to the National Development and Reform Commission — making China the largest consumer behind the United States and Russia.

The Blue Sky initiative is a switch from coal to a range of low-carbon energy sources, such as liquefied natural gas, to meet its energy needs, and its efforts to protect the environment have significantly reduced the levels of smog and pollution that have affected the country's skies for years.

The government has launched policies to enhance infrastructure and connectivity of the pipelines, and supported the building of a system for gas production, supply, storage and distribution.

It recently approved a company to create a national natural gas pipeline network.

"This move marks an important step in the reform of the country's natural gas market," Li Yalan, chairperson of the board of Beijing Gas Group, who has been named president of the International Gas Union for 2021-2024, said at the plenary forum "New LNG Markets" during the 19th International Conference & Exhibition on Liquefied Natural Gas.

"And it will surely speed up the development of the industry in China."

Li said natural gas has the greatest potential of all fossil fuels.

"In 2030, natural gas will become the second largest source of energy in the world following oil. Before 2040, the share of natural gas in the global energy mix will increase to 27 percent, and global gas consumption will reach 5 trillion cubic meters annually," Li said.

Royal Dutch Shell CEO Ben van Beurden said China is leading the way in using gas in the transport industry.

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