China's natural gas industry awakening, poised for growth

China`s long-dormant natural gas sector is awakening in response to government initiatives on opening markets and improving air quality.For many years, natural gas was a relatively unimportant part of China`s energy mix, considered by central planners as too valuable to burn and in short supply.In a country with over 1.2 billion mouths to feed, natural gas was essentially earmarked for fertilizer production. In 1998, over 45% of Sichuan province`s 244 bcf of marketed production was used to produce fertilizer, with much of the remainder used in the petrochemical industry. Only a small fraction, 31 bcf, was used for residential heating and cooking, while no gas was used for power generation...

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