January 22, 2015
Clearing the Air: Is Natural Gas a Game Changer for Coal in China?

by Luan Dong

On the heels of a landmark U.S.-China climate agreement, 2015 will be a critical year for China’s environmental and energy policy. A revised and much stricter Environmental Protection Law went into force on January 1; new amendments to the Air Pollution Law are likely to be put in place; and the National Development and Reform Commission will draft a new five-year plan. 2015 will be particularly critical for the natural gas sector. China is home to the largest shale gas reserves in the world and the government’s plans to cap coal consumption on the way to eventually stalling CO2emissions growth by 2030 rely heavily on cleaner natural gas challenging coal’s dominance. The State Council recently set forth a target for natural gas to comprise over 10 percent of the country’s primary energy consumption by 2020. From its current share of 6 percent, the industry has a long way to go, made more difficult by the recent drop in oil prices, which has forced state-owned enterprises such as Sinopec to sell unprofitable liquefied natural gas import contracts.

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