China LNG Imports Rise to Record for Second Month on New Plants

China’s imports of liquefied natural gas rose to a record for a second month in January as new terminals and winter heating demand boosted consumption.

LNG imports increased about 77 percent from a year ago to 2.65 million metric tons, according to data e-mailed today by the General Administration of Customs in Beijing. The previous record was set in December at 2.43 million tons.

China, the world’s biggest energy consumer, is trying to increase the use of natural gas, a cleaner-burning fuel than coal and fuel oil, to cut pollution. The nation’s gas demand may rise 14.5 percent this year to 193 billion cubic meters, according to the National Energy Administration.

“New terminals that have started up recently led to more imports,” Wang Ruiqi, a gas analyst with ICIS-C1 Energy said by phone. “Also, winter is a peak consumption season, so they bought more cargoes to ensure sufficient supply.”

PetroChina Co. started commercial operations at its Tangshan LNG plant in northern China on Dec. 11, parent company CNPC said in its online newsletter. China National Offshore Oil Corp.’s Tianjin floating LNG terminal received its first cargo on Jan. 22 of 28,523 tons, according to the company.

China’s diesel exports in January fell 2.2 percent from a year ago to about 370,000 tons, the data show. Gasoline exports rose about 24 percent to 390,239 tons, the most in four months.

Fuel Oil

China’s fuel oil imports were at 2.41 million tons, almost double from December and at the highest since May, rising before the Lunar New Year holidays starting Jan. 31, according to customs data. Imports of the fuel, used by power plants and teapot oil refineries, were down from 2.81 million tons a year earlier.

Fuel oil from Iran rose to 122,000 tons, the most in three months. Supplies from the Persian Gulf country cost $550 a ton, the customs data showed.

Venezuela was the country’s largest fuel oil supplier in January at 702,880 tons, followed by Singapore with 580,725 tons and Russia at 426,696 tons. The fuel from Venezuela cost $610 a ton, compared with $620 from Singapore and $684 from Russia, according to Bloomberg calculation based on the data.

To contact Bloomberg News staff for this story: Jing Yang in Shanghai at jyang251@bloomberg.net; Winnie Zhu in Singapore at wzhu4@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Pratish Narayanan at pnarayanan9@bloomberg.net

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