| By Nikos Tsafos

In 2017, China surpassed South Korea to become the world’s second-largest liquefied natural gas (LNG) importer. In a few years, it might overtake Japan. But how is China securing its LNG needs? This is an important question for several reasons. First, when Chinese companies go overseas, they often trigger geopolitical anxiety, so it is worth asking whether Chinese companies are going out more than before; and if so, where and doing what deals? Second, China is the main growth market for LNG, and so Chinese companies can set a tone for the market as a whole; is there a shift in buying behavior or risk? And third, some U.S. project developers worry that the trade war with China will hurt their ability to progress to final investment decision (FID), while others, like Alaska, place their hopes on China; how real are those hopes and concerns? An analysis of China's LNG deals between 2001 and 2018 shows some clear patterns in how Chinese companies have gone about securing LNG.

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