BEIJING, Dec. 18 (Xinhua) -- China's natural gas consumption has surged in the first 11 months of 2017 due to strong demand from industry and winter heating, official data showed Monday.
The country saw a 18.9-percent year-on-year rise in natural gas consumption, which totaled 209.7 billion cubic meters in the January-November period, according to the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC).
The growth was 12 percentage points higher than that in the first half of the year and more than 8 percentage points higher than the average growth in the previous five years, NDRC spokesperson Meng Wei said at a press conference.
During the first 11 months, domestic natural gas output rose 10.5 percent year on year to 133.8 billion cubic meters while imported gas soared 28.9 percent.
Meng attributed the increased gas use to rapidly growing demand in the industrial sector and residential use as millions of households changed to gas instead of coal for heating this winter to help combat air pollution.
To better meet household demand, gas supply for industrial use will be reduced moderately, said Meng.
China's major state-owned oil firms have been told to maximize production at domestic gas fields.
Xu Bo, a senior analyst with China National Petroleum Corporation's Economics and Technology Research Institute, estimated that natural gas use is expected to reach 230 billion cubic meters this year, with 20 billion cubic meters coming from the coal-to-gas transition.
Xu projected a growth rate of 17 percent for the natural gas consumption this year, compared with 7 percent last year.