US Fracking and LNG production could save tens of thousands of lives in China by displacing coal

US Natural gas fracking is enabling the boom in natural gas production and will be building up liquid natural gas imports to tens of millions of tons over the next few years.

China will increase natural gas imports and this will offset about 15% of coal power generation. Natural gas has about half the air pollution as coal. This would mean about an 8% reduction in energy production air pollution for China.

China air pollution causes an estimated 1.6 million premature deaths a year according to U.S.-based Health Effects Institute.

An 8% reduction in air pollution should have some an effect on air quality and save tens of thousands of lives each year. If it was a linear effect it would save about 130,000 lives each year.

Natural Gas displacing coal power

Replacing the electricity generation provided by 1 gigawatt of coal in China would require the installation of 2.3 GW of wind or 4.5 GW of solar or 1.0 GW of natural gas.

In 2010 China imported 10 million metric tons (mtpa) of LNG and 20 mtpa in 2015.
In 2017, China imported almost 40 mtpa.
In the first four months of 2018 imports hit 15.75 million metric tons (which could reach 50 million metric tons for 2018.

China has 17 LNG import terminals with a combined capacity of 7.4 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d). China LNG import terminal capacity will grow to 11.2 Bcf/d by 2021 according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

By 2035 China is forecasted to import 200 mtpa. In 2017, the global LNG trade amounted to 294 mtpa.

A one-gigawatt natural gas power plant would use to 0.168 BCF / day at peak. This is 3,500 tonnes of LNG per day. 1.28 million tons per year.

China’s 50 million tons of imports would offset about 39 GW of coal production.

China’s installed coal-based electrical capacity was 907 GW, or 77% of the total electrical capacity, in 2014.

China increasing to 200 million tons of natural gas imports per year would allow 120 GW less coal power.

US LNG Export Facilities

In 2019 shipments will begin from the USA Cameron LNG export facility. The Gulf Coast facility will bring three production units online by the early 2020’s capable of exporting 15 mtpa, or a little over 2 Bcf per day. This will be valued at over $10 billion. Two more production units could increase the facility’s total export volume to 25 mtpa, or 3.5 Bcf/d.

Pembina Pipeline (NYSE:PBA – Canadian company) bought the Jordon Cove LNG project in Oregon in late 2017. Increased demand in China and Japan might ensure the 1 Bcf/d project is built.

Delfin LNG recently had a floating LNG facility in the Gulf of Mexico approved by regulators, which could boast 13 mtpa (1.8 Bcf/d) of LNG export capacity and start shipments by 2022.