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Gazprom counts on big growth in Chinese gas demand

A man fills the tank of a car at a fuel station of Gazprom Neft oil company in Moscow. (Reuters)
MOSCOW: Russia’s top gas producer Gazprom expects China’s gas consumption to more than double, deputy CEO Alexander Medvedev said, suggesting the company is still counting on robust growth in demand in China even as the economy slows.
As part of Russia’s strategic shift eastwards prompted by rows with the West, Gazprom will supply China with gas via the Power of Siberia pipeline to be built in eastern Russia, raising volumes gradually to make China one of the biggest customers for Russian gas.
Gazprom’s officials said on Tuesday they still aimed to start those supplies in 2019.
China has pledged to reduce its coal dependence, a major source of air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions, and aims to raise gas consumption to 360 billion cubic meters by 2020 from 193.2 bcm in 2015.
Sources close to Gazprom told Reuters in January that Russia is likely to scale back the volume of gas it plans to ship to China later this decade, due to the dive in global energy prices and uncertainty hanging over the Chinese economy.
Medvedev, however, sounded more optimistic.
“Gas consumption (in China) will double and rise further,” said Medvedev, without giving a timeframe.
China expects its domestic output of gas to reach only 190 bcm by 2020, meaning it will need to boost imports or find alternative sources.

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