Natural gas industry to develop fast in China

Updated: 2013-04-18 10:13


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HOUSTON - Liquefied natural gas industry will see promising development both in China and other countries as natural gas is the only clean energy compared with oil and coal, a Chinese energy expert said Tuesday on the sidelines of a professional conference in Houston.

Of the three most important energy resources, both coal and oil have met their development bottleneck, but natural gas has great potential, said Wang Ye, deputy chairman of China LNG Association, who is heading a 100-plus Chinese delegation to the 17th International Conference and Exhibition on liquefied natural gas, or LNG.

The four-day event, believed to be the largest global gas event this year, has attracted major industry players, decision-makers as well as experts to discuss the status quo and prospects of the LNG industry.

Compared with oil, the cheaper price of natural gas has made many countries shift from oil to the latter in recent years, Wang said.

Another factor that makes natural gas a preferred choice is that it is the only clean energy among the three primary energy resources, he said.

As nations seek to be low-carbon and environment-friendly, natural gas is the most likely choice for many countries, Wang said.

"China's LNG imports just rose to the fifth place in the world, lagging far behind Japan and South Korea. The use of LNG, both civilian use and industrial use, is at the beginning stage and has a long way to go," Wang said.

On the world arena, production of natural gas has been steadily increasing over the past years, which indicates growing interest in the clean energy around the world, he said.

"Natural gas is an ideal substitute for coal," Wang said. "It is important to China's energy future, and LNG is key to the development of China's natural gas industry."

The use of natural gas is closely linked to the development of LNG technologies, he said, adding that China has its own development mode and is leading in some LNG-related technologies.

Hailing the development and potential of China's LNG industry, Wang said that China won the right to host the 2019 LNG conference, "because the organizers believe the future of the industry lies in China."

"This is the first time the Chinese enterprises exhibit their products and services at the LNG conference and expo. They are no longer onlookers. After years of development, it's natural for the Chinese LNG industry to take on the world stage, communicate with and learn from foreign counterparts," said Wang.

However, he acknowledged that China does not have a large natural gas reserve.

What's more, he said, the country's natural gas production and consumption are not geographically balanced, as production is largely in the west while consumption in the east.

"LNG can solve the problem of transporting natural gas in China," Wang said.

The LNG event, which debuted in 1968, is held every three years, alternating between producer and consumer countries. The previous one was held in Algeria.

The Chinese first participated in the LNG event in 1992 as visitors. This year is the first time for Chinese enterprises to become exhibitors at the LNG conference.