PetroChina will boost pipeline gas imports to 2.4 bcf a day this year
(Reuters; May 23) - PetroChina will boost its natural gas purchases from Central Asia by 55 percent this year, even as it is unable to fully pass on costs to consumers due to state price controls, the country's largest energy company said. PetroChina will raise its pipeline imports to almost 2.4 billion cubic feet a day this year from 1.54 bcf a day in 2011, Chairman Jiang Jiemin said. The company expects its LNG imports will average 400 million cubic feet a day this year, about double last year's level.
State-owned China National Petroleum Corp. is tasked to import natural gas via pipeline from Central Asia to help the government achieve its goal of doubling the share of the less polluting fuel in the country's overall energy mix by 2020. Imports will reach the full 3 bcf-a-day capacity of China's cross-border pipeline next year, Jiang said. The Chinese government controls prices of natural gas, oil and electricity to tame inflation, and selling Central Asian gas below cost has eroded PetroChina's earnings.
In its effort to develop more domestic natural gas resources, PetroChina will prioritize development of gas trapped in hard rock and between layers of coal over gas locked in shale formations, Vice Chairman Zhou Jiping told reporters. Meanwhile, construction of a third cross-country gas pipeline may begin this year and the project may be completed in two to three years, Jiang said.