The last time it hit a record high was in December 2018 at 15.25 Bcm, historical data from the NBS showed.
On a month-on-month basis, the December volume was up by 6.1% from 15.08 Bcm in November.
Over the January-December period, China produced 173.6 Bcm of natural gas, which is also a record high in terms of annual production volume, up 9.8% year on year, NBS data showed.
China’s state-owned oil and gas major PetroChina previously said it registered the largest annual increase in natural gas production in 2019, which was believed to have contributed to most of the increase in volumes last year.
PetroChina’s Changqing Oilfield — the largest gas field in China — produced 41.2 Bcm of natural gas in 2019, up 2.5 Bcm from 2018, while its Southwest oil and gas field produced 27.9 Bcm of natural gas in 2019, up 4.2 Bcm from a year ago, S&P Global Platts reported earlier.
Despite a strong ramp-up in 2019 output, at the current growth rate, China could still miss its gas production target set in the 13th Five-Year Plan.
The government has a domestic natural gas production target of around 207 Bcm in 2020, with an annual growth of 8.9% over 2016-2020.
However, the country’s gas production growth in 2016, 2017 and 2018 only registered an annual increase of 2.2%, 8.5% and 7.5%, respectively, well below the annual growth target of 8.9%, according to historical data from the NBS.
China’s gas production will have to reach an annual growth rate of 19% in 2020 in order to meet the 207 Bcm production target set in the 13th Five-Year Plan, which seems unreachable based on its current gas production situation.
China’s natural gas production, excluding coal bed gas output from small producers, is expected to reach 187.5 Bcm in 2020, up 14.2 Bcm on the year, according to a forecast from PetroChina’s Economics & Technology Research Institute, Platts reported previously.