MOSCOW. May 23 (Interfax) - Central Asian suppliers are restoring natural gas exports via pipelines to China as the heating season ends.
According to national customs data, shipments rose to 5.48 billion cubic meters in March from 4.5 bcm in January and 4.6 bcm in February. However, there is still much potential- up to 0.9 bcm per month compared with 2022 - for recovery.
The share of pipeline gas supplies in China's imports is close to parity with liquefied natural gas, reaching 47% in March compared with 40% in January and February. China's natural gas supply system has always been based on the supply of LNG by sea to coastal industrial areas. Even customs operate with data on natural gas imports in units of weight, as with LNG, and convert pipeline gas imports to the equivalent of liquefied gas tonnage.
China receives pipeline gas from five suppliers: Russia, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Myanmar.
Russian exports via the Power of Siberia gas pipeline have risen since the beginning of 2023 in keeping with a schedule for increasing those supplies. In total, about 1.8 bcm of gas were shipped in March. Gazprom's (MOEX: GAZP) deliveries may also increase further, as Power of Siberia stopped for maintenance, which took four days of March and four days of April.
Turkmenistan increased supplies to 2.9 bcm in March, back to the highs seen in 2022, after these fell to 2.2 bcm in January and rose to 2.4 bcm in February this year.
Kazakhstan exported 380 million cubic meters to China in March and still has the potential to export around 100 mcm per month.
Uzbekistan has resumed exports after a three-month pause. March statistics reflect 140 mcm, but there is potential to boost the exports more than four-fold. Uzbek President Shavkat Mirziyoyev and Chinese President Xi Jinping said after talks in May that their countries would "work together to ensure the stable operation of and supply of natural gas through the China-Central Asia pipeline in accordance with the agreed plan."
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