China's natural gas supplies will exceed 360 billion cubic meters by 2020, according to the National Development and Reform Commission.
Conventional natural gas is expected to see an increase of proven geological reserves by 3 trillion cu m by 2020. And, shale gas will grow by 1 trillion cu m, the NDRC said on Thursday. The country will encourage more qualified enterprises to get involved in natural gas imports based on the market-oriented principles, said the NDRC.
An analyst said stable supplies and relatively well-developed infrastructure have helped boost the fast growth of the natural gas sector, which now accounts for about 7 percent of China's energy production, with a national target to exceed 10 percent by 2020.
Li Li, an energy research director at ICIS China, said the natural gas has become China's fastest-growing fuel.
However, its increase in the country's energy mix will take some time, despite the government's attempts to beef up its usage by switching users from coal.
According to the National Energy Administration, China's natural gas output rose from 50 billion cu m in 2005 to 135 billion cu m in 2016.
On the other hand, China's crude oil output is set to reach 200 million metric tons by 2020, equivalent to 4 million barrels per day, a decrease from the 215 million tons in the 2011-15 period, said the administration.
However, Li said a slight increase of domestic crude oil production in 2017 is forecast, due to a rebalancing of global crude oil prices.
OPEC's long-sought agreement to reduce production will bring equilibrium back to demand and supply, she said.