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Industry News

Chinese Natural Gas Priced to Spur Development

LCG, Jan. 24, 2002--The base price of natural gas has been set higher by the Chinese national government, increasing by 2 to 3 percent over last year's levels.

The State Development Planning Commission was the agency responsible for the change, which was welcomed by the country's largest natural gas producer, PetroChina. Pricing will also be changed to make processing and distribution costs less expensive components of an overall price.

According to Huan Guoyu, an analyst for the State Council Office for Restructuring the Economic System who was quoted in China Daily, "the major problem for the gas industry is that the low base price has failed to spur companies to produce more, while the high transmission and distribution charges push the final price too high for users to accept."

The central government is reported to want to spur development in natural gas so that it provides at least 8 percent of the country's energy needs, whereas it now provides 2.1 percent. Coal provides about 75 percent of China's energy requirements. PetroChina has "rich reserves" of natural gas that have been estimated to contain 58.9 percent of China's total gas reserves, but the company's oil output is declining.

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