China has become the world’s largest buyer of natural gas, according to data from the country’s General Administration of Customs, surpassing Japan as part of Beijing’s movement towards cleaner energy sources.
China imported 7.95 million tons of natural gas last month, the data revealed, bringing the total to 34.9 million tons for the year to date. Japan, meanwhile, imported 34.5 million tons during the same period, according to Caixin.
A shift towards gas away from coal has been a key policy for the government, which it is facilitating through a combination of overseas shipments and new pipelines such as the $55 billion conduit from Siberia currently under construction by Russian state-owned Gazprom.
Imports are likely to continue to increase after China signed several deals with the US to develop shale gas in Alaska and West Virginia.