Chinese LNG imports from Russia double | Rigzone

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China imported twice as much liquefied natural gas from Russia last month as it did a year earlier, despite a weakened appetite for spot purchases due to high prices.

The world’s second-largest buyer of superchilled fuel bought nearly 401,000 tonnes from Russia in February, according to official customs data released on Sunday. The increase came as China’s total LNG imports fell 12% from a year earlier, with Russia’s share dropping to 8%.

Chinese buyers have sought to diversify their portfolios in line with the country’s efforts to reduce its reliance on a single source. The decline in total imports came as spot prices rose due to tight supply in Europe, but before they hit a record high earlier this month following the invasion of Ukraine by the Russia on February 24. Most import agreements would have been concluded before this date.

The war in Ukraine has complicated Russia’s role in supplying China with raw materials and led to the suspension of many deals as buyers wait for clearer political signals. It is not yet clear whether Chinese importers would be tempted by potential discounts as their international counterparts shun Russian fuel.

Russian LNG imports were still higher than major suppliers Australia and Qatar in February, according to customs data, at nearly 5,000 yuan ($786) a ton.

High prices have caused total LNG imports to fall by 8.7% year-on-year in the first two months of 2022, as buyers turn to cheaper domestic coal. Demand has also come under pressure from the worst coronavirus outbreak in two years and warmer weather.

China’s oil-related pipeline imports rose 6.9% in February, compared with nearly 12% growth last year. There was no breakdown by country, but ENN Energy Holdings Ltd., one of the largest town gas companies, said last week that flows from Russia had increased.

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