BEIJING, Feb. 3 (Xinhua) -- China saw its aggregate volume of natural gas imported from overseas jump 25 percent year on year in 2013, approaching one-third of its apparent consumption, a new report has showed.
The country imported 53 billion cubic meters of natural gas last year, 31.6 percent of its domestic gas output plus imported volume, according to a report released by an economic and technological academy under China National Petroleum Corporation, the country's state-owned oil giant.
In 2013, local authorities more strongly promoted the use of natural gas to reduce dependency on coal, prompted by the needs for environmental protection and economic advances.
The drive contributed to the country's surging imports of natural gas, noted the report.
Despite the increased imports, it said, "there would have been a supply-demand gap of 22 billion cubic meters in 2013 in the case that all the needs for natural gas were satisfied."
China's natural gas consumption increased 13.9 percent year on year in 2013. The total consumption accounted for 5.9 percent of consumed primary energy resources, up from 5.4 percent in 2012, making China the world's third-largest gas user.
The report estimated that China's total domestic gas production and imported volume increased 11 percent year on year to 186 billion cubic meters in 2014, and put the estimated proportion taken up by natural gas in primary energy consumption at 6.3 percent.
The figure indicated a more tightened balance between supply and demand and increasing seasonal scarcity of natural gas in the year.
The Chinese central government initiated a nationwide reform of the natural gas pricing mechanism in July, 2013, hoping to bring it gradually into line with the market situation.