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Expert urges storing natural gas to ease shortages


08:54, November 11, 2011

ZHENGZHOU, Nov. 10 (Xinhua) -- A Chinese scholar suggested Thursday that the country establish a means to store natural gas so as to address shortages that have hit cities in recent years when demand peaks in winter.

Chen Shouhai, an associate professor with the China University of Petroleum, said that the storage of a proper amount of natural gas is a successful practice adopted in some developed economies.

"The storage of natural gas consists of strategic storage and preparatory storage for times of peak consumption," Chen said at an industrial forum held Thursday in the city of Anyang, Henan province.

Chen said that the strategic storage of natural gas can guarantee supplies during wars, embargoes and natural disasters that could otherwise cause supply disruption, while storage for peak times can meet changing demand based on different seasons.

The United States currently keeps enough natural gas in storage to supply the country for at least 60 days in the event of supply disruption, according to Chen. However, he said that Chinese companies are not enticed to store gas as the cost for tanks and maintenance is high.

To combat this issue, Chen suggested the government extend favorable polices such as credit support to companies.

Natural gas is playing an increasingly important role in China's energy consumption. Already 150 million people, or 11.2 percent of the population, have access to natural gas in their homes.

The country's top energy chief, Liu Tienan, said last month that the country will increase the proportion of the population supplied with natural gas to 20 percent this winter to meet rising demand.

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