China could increase its imports of natural gas by up to 500 per cent, according to CNPC’s international department head Li Yuequiang.
China currently imports around 53 billion cubic metres of gas per year, but could increase this figure to between 190 and 270 billion cubic metres per year, in an attempt to wean itself off of its dependency on coal.
"Despite the fact the Chinese economy has entered a new stage, and there has been growth slowdown, the demand for gas will increase. This corresponds to the concept of green development of the Chinese economy and the reduction of pollutant emissions," Li Yueqiang told Russian news agency, RIA Novosti.
China is expected to source much of this new gas from neighbouring Russia. New pipelines are already being built between the two countries, with the Power of Siberia pipeline purportedly delivering 38 billion cubic metres of gas from Russia to China each year.
Russia has the world’s largest proven gas reserves, totalling a staggering 48.7 trillion cubic metres. China also has sizable reserves of its own, but lacks the necessary infrastructure to meet its own spiralling energy demands.