Author: Chen Na

Posted on: Caixin Global, December 12th, 2016

China plans to increase its annual natural gas output to 600 billion cubic meters by 2030 in an attempt to reduce its dependence on burning coal for energy and follow through with its commitment to the Paris Agreement, the government said.

The government aims to increase the percentage of natural gas in total primary energy consumption to 15% by 2030. This will put natural gas third behind coal and petroleum in the country’s energy use, according to a natural gas white paper released by three government agencies on Saturday.

China, the world’s largest energy consumer, is seeking to raise the share of less-polluting natural gas in its energy mix as the country grapples with severe air pollution and fulfilling its commitment in the fight against global warming. President Xi Jinping’s government has taken a variety of measures, such as cutting gas prices for end users, to stimulate demand for the fuel and shift consumption from coal.

As a result, the country’s consumption of natural gas quadrupled from 46.8 billion cubic meters in 2005 to 193.1 billion cubic meters last year, according to the white paper authored by departments under the National Energy Administration, the State Council and the Ministry of Land and Resources.

However, consumption of the fuel per capita only accounted for 5.9% of the total primary energy consumption in 2015. The figure was far lower than the global average of 23.7%, which means «there is a huge potential market demand,» the document said.

The document reiterates China’s stance on climate change. In a joint statement released with U.S. President Barack Obama in November 2014, President Xi Jinping said China’s carbon-dioxide emissions will peak around 2030, after which the use of coal will decline, and non-fossil fuel sources will make one-fifth of energy sources by then. These pledges later became part of China’s commitments for the Paris Agreement, which was adopted during the United Nations’ climate conference in December 2015.

According to the white paper, China is estimated to have 90 trillion cubic meters of natural gas reserves. Production reached 127.1 billion cubic meters in 2015, the National Bureau of Statistics said.

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