China, one of Asia's largest energy consumer, experienced slower growth in natural gas consumption last year on weaker demand, while surplus supplies appeared on the domestic market as gas imports under long term contracts started to flow into the country, local media Xinhua Finance Agency reported Sunday.
The country's apparent consumption of natural gas reached 6.74 trillion cubic feet (Tcf) or 191 billion cubic meters (Bcm) in 2015, up 3.7 percent from the previous year. Slower growth in natural gas demand was attributed to China's economic slowdown as well as high domestic gas prices, Xinhua Finance said, citing a report from state-owned China National Petroleum Corp. (CNPC).
In 2015, China's natural gas imports rose 4.7 percent year on year to 2.20 Tcf (62.4 Bcm), while domestic production grew 3.5 percent in the corresponding period to 4.65 Tcf (131.8 Bcm).
The country had signed several long-term natural gas import contracts around 2010 to ensure its energy security amid forecasts of strong gas demand growth, a development that did not materialize last year due to a weaker Chinese economy.
Looking ahead, CNPC said China's natural gas consumption is expected to rebound this year, thanks to a reduction in gas prices and pressure to protect the environment, Xinhua Finance indicated.
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