China’s top economic planner is moving to rein in natural gas prices, as the country experiences a fuel shortage amid a national campaign to replace coal with cleaner energy. Liquefied natural gas (LNG) suppliers shouldn’t stockpile fuel to boost prices or collude to fix prices, the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) told its 11 branches across the northern China in a Monday meeting, urging them to intensify oversight of the industry and stabilize prices.
In China, natural gas is primarily supplied through pipelines based on a government-set price, but bottled LNG is used to supplement the fuel once there is a shortage. LNG prices are market-determined. There has been an acute natural gas shortage this year after the government forcefully pushed forward a program to replace coal-fueled heating systems with natural gas- or electricity-powered ones, Caixin reports. The NDRC’s Hebei province branch has warned of a natural gas shortage of around 10% to 20% starting Nov. 28.