China's top economic planning agency has coordinated with major natural gas suppliers to secure adequate supplies and stabilize prices to cope with rising demand in northern China.
Companies should keep natural gas prices stable and ensure adequate supplies, the National Development and Reform Commission said. Demand surged in northern China as gas replaced coal for heating to fight pollution.
High demand has caused sharp growth in liquefied natural gas consumption, reaching 167.6 billion cubic meters from January to September, up 16.6 percent year-on-year, the NDRC said. Consumption is expected to reach 230 billion cubic meters this year with 20 billion cubic meters coming from the transition, said Xu Bo, a senior analyst with China National Petroleum Corp's Economics and Technology Research Institute.
The growing appetite for gas pushed domestic liquefied natural gas prices to a record high of 9,000 yuan (,361) a metric ton on Dec 1 in some regions, an industry report said.
State-owned oil firms are maximizing production at domestic gas fields. The NDRC has urged discipline in pricing.
At the end of last month, Hebei issued an orange alert for natural gas supplies, suggesting a supply gap of 10 to 20 percent.
Some schools in Quyang county in Hebei failed to finish the transformation on time and the heating was not working in some schools, China Youth Daily reported. On Tuesday, Quyang county said all 11 schools that had a delay have started heating temporarily with "clean coal". The transformation will be finished on Wednesday.