Chinese natural gas demand is forecast to rise 10% this year after the government implemented coal-to- gas switching in the northeast regions Tianjin and Hebei. Gas demand grew only 6.6% in 2016 and 5.7% in 2015. LNG imports rose 42% year on year in the first nine months this year to meet gas demand growth, and also on spot LNG prices that were lower than state-controlled city-gate gas prices this summer. The positive margins encouraged state-owned operators CNOOC and PetroChina to buy more spot cargoes to meet demand and also build inventories ahead of the winter, industry sources said.
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