China Suspends LNG Sales to Asian-European Customers to Secure Supply for Winter

China ordered its state-owned gas importers to halt reselling LNG to energy-starved clients in Europe and Asia to safeguard its winter heating supplies, according to Bloomberg reported on Monday.

Unnamed sources familiar with the matter said that the National Development and Reform Commission requested that PetroChina Co., Sinopec, and Cnooc Ltd. hold onto winter cargoes for domestic consumption.

Forecasts for a slight gas supply imbalance likely prompted Beijing’s move, which has promised to keep its citizens warm this winter. The resales marked a significant shift for China, which overtook Japan to become the world’s largest LNG importer last year due to growing spot market purchases but may experience its first ever dip in gas consumption in 2022.

During his speech at the Communist Party congress on Sunday, President Xi Jinping emphasized the importance of energy security, reiterating his previous statements that the country must proceed with its green transformation carefully to avoid the risks of a supply shortage.