PetroChina International, a unit of CNPC, is planning to expand its fleet of liquefied natural gas (LNG) tankers to 25 by 2030, reported Bloomberg.  

This move comes as CNPC aims to enhance its position as a global gas trader. 

PetroChina is a subsidiary of state-owned CNPC and PetroChina International is the gas trading and marketing unit of PetroChina.  

PetroChina International deputy general manager Wang Haiyan said that the company currently operates six ships, with the expansion set to include both owned and long-term chartered vessels. 

The decision to bolster the LNG fleet is a strategic response following PetroChina’s 161.14bn yuan ($22.34bn) profit in 2023.  

The expansion is also linked to China’s position as the world’s top LNG buyer and the need to diversify markets following a rare drop in domestic consumption during the pandemic peak in 2022. 

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Haiyan revealed at a Beijing forum that the company resold 12 million tonnes of LNG to more than 20 countries in 2023.  

This was a significant portion of the 30 million tonnes purchased internationally.  

The executive expressed confidence in the supply, stating: “Supply is not a problem anymore,” and projected an even more robust supply landscape as new global gas projects commence operations from 2026. 

Chinese importers have increased their long-term LNG contract volumes in the wake of the Ukraine conflict and subsequent gas price surges.  

In 2023, these contracts accounted for 63 million tonnes out of approximately 71 million tonnes shipped, with expectations to reach 106 million tonnes by 2030.  

Haiyan also noted that Russia is set to become China’s largest gas supplier this year, delivering around 40 billion cubic metres (bcm), or 29 million tonnes of gas.  

The Power of Siberia project is also on track to increase its delivery to 30bcm in 2024, up from 22bcm last year, and is expected to reach its full capacity of 38bcm by 2025.  

Additionally, around 10bcm of Russian LNG is expected to be imported by sea in the current year. 

The Chinese LNG sector has seen further activity with Foran Energy Group signing a long-term supply deal with Cheniere Energy in November 2023, and ADNOC Gas entering into a supply agreement with PetroChina in September 2023.