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China's Swapping Energy Independence for Cleaner Air

  • Imports seen accounting for 40% of China’s gas use by 2020
  • Government effort to reduce pollution emphasizes gas over coal
1484100749_beijing china pollution lede
Photographer: Qilai Shen/Bloomberg
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China is becoming more dependent on overseas natural gas as it seeks to wean itself off coal and avoid the toxic smog that suffocates the country every winter.

The world’s largest energy user will increase imports of liquefied natural gas about 30 percent this year as domestic production stagnates and the government pushes cleaner fuels in an effort to clear polluted skies, according to SCI International and North Square Blue Oak Ltd. Imported gas, including both seaborne and pipeline supplies, may account for about 40 percent of the country’s gas use by the end of this decade, up from roughly a third last year, they said.