The seasonal shortage in natural gas supply during winter could worsen this year, especially in the northern regions, as many parts of the country are switching from coal to natural gas, the National Business Daily reported Friday. Monitoring agencies in several mainland cities have projected a combined natural gas supply deficit of over 10 billion cubic meters this year. In the winter of 2011, only a few provinces such as Shandong and Hunan reported gas supply shortage. The problem started to worsen in 2012, with about a dozen provinces and cities such as Beijing, Hubei, Zhejiang, Jiangsu and Inner Mongolia experiencing a lack of supply. According to ICIS Consulting’s estimates, the country’s total natural gas consumption this year will increase by 14.1 percent to 165 billion cubic meters from 2012, while domestic production is forecast at only 114.6 billion cubic meters, despite posting a 9.04 percent growth from 2011, the report said.
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