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China's natural gas consumption growth rate is expected slow to around 10% in 2019, from 17.5% last year, amid easing economic growth and pressure on the country's production, storage and sales network, a government report published on Saturday showed.
The research report, conducted by the oil and gas department at the National Energy Administration, forecast
consumption to be about 310 billion cubic meters, and to continue growing until 2050.
Like the rest of the global economy, China's growth prospects are being overshadowed by the lengthening dispute with the United States that has seen the world's two biggest economic players apply tit-for-tat tariffs on each other's goods, making trade more expensive and difficult.
China, the world's second-largest buyer of liquefied natural gas, last year and this year imposed tariffs on imports of the super-chilled fuel from the United States.
The report also called an increase in domestic output increase, especially in the southwestern province of Sichuan,
the Erdos basin and in offshore production bases, to ensure security of the country's energy supply.
The report calls for building Sichuan basin into the country's top gas hub due to its rich resource base in both conventional and unconventional gas, such as shale gas and tight gas, a low-permeability gas derived from reservoir rocks.
"Through expanding development of deep-reservoir gas, tight gas and shale gas, Sichuan is likely to account for about a third of the country's total natural gas output," the report said.
China recently also announced a policy to extend subsidies for another three years on domestic production of unconventional gas, to include also tight gas for the first time.