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South China chemical producer halts ammonia output as gas crisis deepens

BEIJING, Dec 12 (Reuters) - China's Yunnan Yuntianhua Co , a major chemical producer based in the southern province of Yunnan, has halted synthetic ammonia production due to natural gas shortages as the nation's winter heating crisis deepens, it said on Tuesday.

Yuntianhua halted production on Monday and does not expect it to resume before Dec. 31, the company said in a filing to the Shanghai Stock Exchange.

The halt comes as at least one state natural gas producer has diverted supplies of the fuel to China's north for residential heating use.

State radio reported last week that PetroChina has sent at least 5 million cubic metres of gas from the southern provinces of Zhejiang, Fujian and Guangdong province to help relieve shortages in northern China.

A PetroChina official familiar with the plan said as much as 10 million cubic metres has been diverted north. He declined to be named because he is not authorised to speak to the press. (Reporting by Meng Meng and Josephine Mason; Editing by Tom Hogue)