China's General Administration of Customs confirmed on January 23, 2018, that the country has become the world’s 2nd largest importer of liquefied natural gas (LNG).
Chinese LNG imports rose by nearly 50% last year and the country has now passed South Korea to become the world’s 2nd largest importer behind Japan, but the extra imports still have not been enough for some parts of Chinese industry.
China imported a record 38.13 million tonnes of LNG in 2017, compared to South Korea's 37.6 million tonnes. This contrasts to 2016 when South Korea imported 33.5 million t to China's 26.1 million tonnes.
In December alone, China imported 5.03 million tons of LNG, customs data showed today, beating its November record of 4.06 million tons by 24 %. The figure was also 35 % higher than that for December 2016.
The rush for supply comes after Beijing ordered millions of households and some industrial plants in northern China to change to gas heating from coal as part of its war on pollution.
Japan, China and South Korea together make up 60 % of global LNG demand.