The area around Tianjin in northeast China currently has floating and onshore import terminals and is already the nation’s leading LNG importer, but an expansion of the onshore terminal and the construction of a new facility, the largest in China, will turn the Port into the main China LNG Hub and the biggest in Asia.
According to Customs data, Tianjin accounting for nearly 20 percent of all Chinese LNG imports during the first four months of 2020.
From January to April, LNG imports through the Tianjin port increased 25.6 percent year-on-year to total 3.92 million tonnes.
The LNG imported through the port mainly came from Australia, Russia and Asian nations such as Malaysia and Indonesia.
The Tianjin North onshore terminal is operated by China Petroleum and Chemical Corp., also known as Sinopec.
Sinopec, which plans to more than double its LNG receiving capacities to 41 million tonnes by 2025, currently operates three import terminals.
It is also a partner of US major ConocoPhillips in the Australia-Pacific LNG production plant in Queensland with a contract for more than 7 million tonnes per annum of supplies.
The Chinese company operates three terminal in China at Qingdao in Shandong province, the Tianjin North terminal and the Beihai facility in the Guangxi autonomous region bordering Vietnam.
There has also been a Tianjin floating storage and regasification unit (FSRU) deployed since 2013 by China National Offshore Oil Corp., the nation's largest LNG importer.
The role during the past couple of winter seasons has been carried out by the “Höegh Esperanza”.
Sinopec’s plans include expanding the Tianjin terminal, which guarantees supplies to Beijing during winter, to have a capacity to handle 12 MTPA of imports.
Another import project is being developed at Tianjin by Beijing Gas Group and is known as the Nangang project.
It is currently scheduled to come on line in 2022 with 10 tanks and up to 2 million tonnes of storage.
Beijing Gas has obtained the government's approval to construct the terminal with huge storage tank capacity in the Nangang district of Tianjin City, giving the port area three separate facilities and eventually up to 25 MTPA of capacity, making it the biggest single LNG import centre in Asia.
Nangang will have an initial 5 MTPA of capacity and will then be gradually expanded.
The Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, backed by the Chinese government, said in December 2019 it was investing $500 million in the new Beijing Gas LNG project.
With a population of around 113 million, the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region is one of the most important economic engines within China and has increasing natural gas demand.
Beijing Gas is mainly engaged in city-gas distribution and supplies more than 10 billion cubic metres per annum to the Chinese capital and surrounding areas.
Its new Tianjin terminal will also have a jetty to receive the largest carriers of 260,000 cubic metres capacity.
There will additionally be a pipeline of 230 kilometres to send regasified LNG supplies from the coast to gas storage facilities near Beijing.