Editor’s Note: This column is part of a regular series by industry veteran Brad Hitch for NGI’s LNG Insight dedicated to addressing the complexities of the global natural gas market.

It is easy to forget that China is a relatively new member of the LNG importers club.  

The first liquefied natural gas cargo imported into China didn’t arrive until Guangdong LNG terminal in Shenzhen was commissioned in 2006. Remarkably, within sixteen years, Chinese LNG imports had grown to exceed 100 billion cubic meters (Bcm) annually, or roughly 3.5 Tcf,  overtaking Japanese imports in 2021 to briefly give China the title of world’s largest LNG importer. 

In addition to introducing the Chinese growth juggernaut to the LNG world, the early Guangdong contract was also notable for its...