China's Dec pipeline gas imports rise 20% on year to 2.56 Bcm

Singapore (Platts)--22 Jan 2014 442 am EST/942 GMT

China imported 1.85 million mt of natural gas via pipelines in December 2013, a 20.1% year-on-year increase, data released by the General Administration of Customs showed Wednesday.

Customs data records natural gas trade data in metric tons, similar to LNG imports. The volume works out to about 2.56 billion cubic meters of pipeline gas imported last month.

Imports from Turkmenistan in December were level from a year earlier at 1.49 million mt, although Uzbekistan gas imports rose over 500% to 228,391 mt.

China's current gas imports from Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan are transported via the Central Asia-China gas pipeline network that links with state-owned China National Petroleum Corp.'s Second West-East Pipeline in western Xinjiang province.

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In addition, gas imports from Myanmar -- which started in August last year via the Myanmar-China pipeline -- totaled 102,422 mt, more than double the volume in November.

Gas import volumes from Myanmar have steadily ramped up in the last few months on the back of increased output at the deepwater Shwe gas project in the Bay of Bengal.

China's total natural gas pipeline imports in 2013 rose 37.2% from 2012 to 20.07 million mt, or about 27.7 Bcm.

Volumes from Turkmenistan surged 22% year on year to 17.71 million mt while imports from Uzbekistan rose exponentially to 2.1 million mt.

The most expensive gas came from Myanmar in 2013, with average delivered prices to the Chinese border at $11.81/MMBtu, according to customs data.

Turkmen gas imports averaged $9.55/MMBtu while Uzbek supplies were slightly cheaper, at $8.83/MMBtu.

--Song Yen Ling,
--Edited by Jonathan Dart,

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