China set to top Japan as world’s biggest natural gas importer

Gas production
Updated 03 January 2018
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China set to top Japan as world’s biggest natural gas importer

SINGAPORE: Beijing’s crackdown on pollution has put China on track to overtake Japan this year as the world’s biggest importer of natural gas, used to replace dirtier coal.
China — already the biggest importer of oil and coal — is the world’s third biggest user of natural gas behind the United States and Russia, but has to import around 40 percent of its total needs as domestic production can’t keep up with demand.
Data compiled from the Thomson Reuters Eikon terminal indicates China’s 2017 imports of pipeline gas and liquefied natural gas (LNG) will top 67 million tons, up by more than a quarter from a year earlier. LNG imports alone surged more than 50 percent.
The data, which includes LNG tanker arrivals to China and pipeline monthly import flow estimates, is preliminary as December figures are not yet available.
China still lags Japan, with gas annual imports of around 83.5 million tons, all as LNG, but its overall gas imports topped Japan’s in September and again in November, government data and shipping flows show.
Analysts say the trend is set and China should top Japan for the full year in 2018.
“Both LNG and pipeline imports will continue to increase in the next few years. We expect China to overtake Japan as the world’s largest gas importer in 2018,” said Miaoru Huang, Asia gas and LNG senior manager at energy consultancy Wood Mackenzie.
“But Japan will remain as the No.1 LNG importer till around 2028,” she added.
China last year started to move millions of households and many industrial facilities from coal to gas as part of efforts to clean its skies, sparking an unprecedented rally in overseas import orders.
China’s three biggest LNG suppliers are Australia, Qatar and Malaysia, while pipeline imports come from Central Asia and Myanmar. A pipeline connecting China to Russia is under construction.
Unlike established LNG importers which import the bulk of their cargoes under long-term contracts with fixed monthly volumes and a link to the oil market, many Chinese utilities buy LNG in the spot market when they need it at short notice, such as the current peak demand winter season.
As a result, Asian spot LNG prices have more than doubled since June to $11.20 per million British thermal units (mmBtu), their highest since November 2014, making LNG one of 2017’s strongest performing commodities.
China’s surging demand already pushed it past South Korea in 2017 as the world’s number 2 LNG importer.


NMC Health raises full-year core earnings forecast

Updated 22 October 2018
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NMC Health raises full-year core earnings forecast

  • UAE-based NMC Health has operations across 17 countries
  • Revenue for 2019 will increase by between 22 and 24 percent

DUBAI: UAE-based health care provider NMC Health on Monday raised its full-year core earnings and revenue forecasts, citing strong organic growth, and said it remained confident in achieving its longer-term margin guidance.
The company raised its core earnings forecast by 3.2 percent to $480 million for the year and said it expected revenue to grow 24 percent, 2 percentage points more than its previous expectation.
“2019 guidance will also point toward continuation of strong organic growth on the back of a sustained ramp-up at key facilities, integration and expansion of acquired entities, as well as a strong operational performance,” the company said.
The company, the leading private health care operator in the Gulf, is benefiting from growing demand in the health care sector due to an increasingly wealthy population that is becoming more susceptible to lifestyle diseases such as diabetes and obesity.
NMC Health, which has operations across 17 countries, said during 2019 management anticipated the opening of new greenfield facilities, particularly in the UAE, the expansion of facilities across different countries and the consolidation of Aspen Healthcare, which NMC Health acquired earlier this year.
Revenue for 2019 will increase by between 22 and 24 percent, and earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization were expected to grow by 18 to 20 percent during 2019, it said, adding that the guidance did not include the effects of implementation of IFRS 16, or the impact of the anticipated financial consolidation of National Medical Care Company.