China developing gas reserves, will cut imports: report

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China is aggressively developing its own massive gas reserves, which will lead to imported gas requirements falling dramatically, a newspaper reported Monday.

The country will need much less liquefied natural gas (LNG) from 2020 onwards than in the coming decade, said the Financial Times, citing a study by industry consultant Wood Mackenzie.

And it will need no additional gas transported by pipeline after 2020, added the paper.

"Beyond 2020 we expect to see significant volumes of indigenous unconventional gas entering the market and meeting much of China's incremental demand," said the study.

The news could come as a blow to international energy companies -- such as BG, Royal Dutch Shell, BP and ExxonMobil -- who are looking to China to grow their LNG business.

China is looking at various new sources, including shale gas and producing gas from coal, said the FT.

By developing these new sources, the country will cut its need for new tanker-delivered LNG to eight million tonnes a year from 2020 compared to 16 million tonnes annually over the coming decade, the report said.

"There is a clear imperative for LNG sellers to conclude deals with Chinese buyers in the next two or three years, or risk seeing China disappear as a potential foundation buyer for their projects," said Wood Mackenzie.

But there is an upside, as Beijing may need help from international firms with expertise in shale gas, said the consultant.

China "will require partnerships and technology in the initial phase of development, creating a window of opportunity for qualified foreign players," according to the study.

© 2010 AFP

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