Edition:
India

Dominique Patton

China turns up gas heat in 3 mln more homes

13 Dec 2018

* New users could add 4.5 bcm of gas demand * China also switching 1.5 mln households to electric heating * Residents facing expensive heating bills By Meng Meng and Dominique Patton BEIJING, Dec 13 China has switched another 3.29 million households to gas heating this winter, Reuters calculations show, more than it added last year, as Beijing continues to push the use of cleaner fuels to curb pollution. Gas heating has been installed in recent months across a new swathe of northern China - known for its heavy smog - underlining the government's commitment to reduce pollution even after last year's efforts triggered a fuel shortage that left people freezing in their homes. The new gas users will require an additional 4.53 billion cubic metres (bcm) of gas in the Nov. 15 to Mar. 15 period, but analysts said the increase would not necessarily boost overall consumption in the country. "If China wants to deliver gas as promised to households, it will sacrifice industrial supplies," said Chen Zhu, managing director of consultancy SIA Energy. Last year's surge in gas demand combined with inadequate storage and insufficient infrastructure to cause a supply crunch that pushed prices to record levels just weeks into the heating season, forcing Beijing to pause its clean-fuel campaign. This year, a warmer-than-usual November, slack industrial demand and higher supplies of liquefied natural gas (LNG) have pressured wholesale gas prices. China's energy majors also bought more supplies ahead of the heating season, with November gas imports via pipeline and ship hitting a record. Even so, China is unlikely to meet the additional demand from the new users, without cutting some supply to industry, Chen said. POLLUTION BATTLEFIELD Reuters calculated the number of new households that switched to gas boilers by subtracting the number of new electricity users reported by State Grid - China's dominant grid operator - from the total new households reported as using clean fuels by the Ministry of Ecology and Environment. An additional 1.5 million homes will use electricity for heating, the numbers show, after Beijing proposed electric power as an alternative to gas for cities in the Fenwei Plain. The Fenwei Plain includes parts of Shanxi and Shaanxi, two of China's biggest coal-producing provinces, as well as Henan. Cities in the Fenwei Plain were included by Beijing as a "key battlefield" in its war against air pollution in July, in addition to 28 other cities in northern China. China's top steel-making province, Hebei, and top coal-producing region Shanxi were most aggressive in switching to gas heating, while homes in Beijing and Shaanxi province added more electricity than gas. Chen Hao, a resident of Xi'an, capital of Shaanxi province, said he doubted whether local households earning an average of 3,000 yuan a month could afford the extra 500 yuan in winter heating bills after switching to gas. Some people will also still burn coal, after local governments relaxed an outright ban on coal for heating in places not connected to gas supplies. "This winter, village officials are under pressure to keep us warm," said an elderly farmer surnamed Liu living in Zhangjiapu village in Shanxi province. Last year, Liu survived the winter without heat. The table below shows the number of new gas or electric heating users this year, according to data published by the Ministry of Ecology and Environment and State Grid. New New power Total Gas Power Gas household users user user consumption gas users pct pct from new users this year (in bcm) Beijing 39,000 122,600 161,600 24% 76% 0.054 Hebei 1.45 mln 319,000 1.77 mln 81% 18% 2.000 Tianjin 154,100 35,900 190,000 81% 19% 0.212 Shandong 210,000 240,000 450,000 47% 53% 0.289 Henan 598,000 300,000 898,000 67% 33% 0.824 Shanxi 601,000 62,000 663,000 91% 9% 0.828 Shaanxi 237,000 470,000 707,000 34% 66% 0.327 Total 3.29 mln 1.54 mln 4.84 mln 68% 32% 4.534 (Reporting by Meng Meng and Dominique Patton; Editing by Tom Hogue)

China mulls stockpiling pork to support farmers hit by swine fever

29 Nov 2018

BEIJING China may soon buy pork for its state reserves to support farmers struggling to sell their pigs amid an African swine fever epidemic that has ravaged the nation's hog herd, according to people who attended a government meeting this week.

China December coal imports set to slump on new curbs - traders

27 Nov 2018

BEIJING China's coal imports are set to slump in December as traders and utilities wind back purchases following signals from Beijing that it will stop clearing shipments until next year, trading companies and utilities told Reuters.

China December coal imports set to slump on new curbs - traders

27 Nov 2018

BEIJING, Nov 27 China's coal imports are set to slump in December as traders and utilities wind back purchases following signals from Beijing that it will stop clearing shipments until next year, trading companies and utilities told Reuters.

China worries about hog supply as African swine fever reaches Beijing

23 Nov 2018

GUOGEZHUANG, China/BEIJING China will adjust its rules on controlling the spread of African swine fever to keep pork supplies stable, said an official on Friday, even as the country reported the first cases of the disease to be discovered in its capital.

China industrial gas demand falters as heartland factories go bust

21 Nov 2018

BEIJING Industrial gas demand in North China is showing signs of a sharp slowdown as small manufacturers shut their doors or buy less gas, unable to cope with a drop-off in export orders and costs related to Beijing's pollution control and reform measures.

New blow to China as African swine fever found in wild boar

16 Nov 2018

BEIJING China's efforts to stem the spread of African swine fever were dealt a fresh blow on Friday when the agricultural ministry confirmed it had found the first case in a wild boar, deepening a three-month-old crisis for the world's top pork producer.

China to boost grain imports from 'Belt & Road' countries amid Sino-U.S. trade spat: official

14 Nov 2018

GUANGZHOU, China/BEIJING China aims to step up grain imports from countries linked by President Xi Jinping's project to create a modern-day Silk Road, seeking to diversify supply sources amid a trade war with the United States, a key cabinet researcher said on Wednesday.

LatAm farmers to boost soybean output amid U.S.-China trade war: analyst

14 Nov 2018

GUANGZHOU, China Farmers across South America are expected to produce more soybeans in 2018/19, an industry analyst said on Wednesday, as they take advantage of a trade war that has curbed U.S. exports to the world's top buyer China.

Corrected: African swine fever suspected to be in animal feed in China

13 Nov 2018

(This Nov. 12 story corrects headline and story throughout to say case of disease in feed was suspected, not confirmed. Removes para saying it is first reported contamination of feed supply.)

World News