(EnergyAsia, May 24 2012, Thursday) — China’s surging demand for clean burning fuel may boost its imports of liquefied natural gas by 80% from current contracted volumes of about 46 million metric tons, said energy consultant Wood Mackenzie Ltd.

The world’s biggest energy user may need to purchase an additional 37 million metric tons of LNG by 2030 on top of current contracted volumes of 46 million tons.

Speaking in Singapore, Graham Tyler, Wood Mackenzie’s manager of gas and power research for Southeast Asia, said China may need the additional 37 million metric tons by 2030 even as it prepares to prepares for domestic shale gas production and imports from Russia.

China and Russia are are still continuing talks over a possible deal for Siberian gas. Chinese state companies are tying up with a host of Western companies to jointly produce unconventional gas in China and abroad.

In March, the National Energy Administration announced that it has set a target for China to produce 6.5 billion cubic metres (bcm) of shale gas and achieve recoverable reserves of 200 bcm and proved reserves of 600 bcm by 2015.