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Asian Petroleum Review : Jan-March 2011
23 "It's not a problem in the fourth quarter as the energy-saving campaign continues and factory output slows, but power demand is likely to rise in the first quarter and extreme weather may add more difficulty." Chinese meteorologists have downplayed reports by some foreign forecasters for an extremely harsh northern hemisphere winter, but did not rule out harsher than normal weather in parts of the country. Gas suppliers have also been told to beef up preparations for peak demand season, after be- ing forced to ration gas last winter. PetroChina has promised to produce 8 percent more gas in the winter-spring season than last year and to cut supplies to its own chemical plants to leave more for residents. But a 20 percent leap in China's overall gas supplies this year may be dwarfed by explosive growth in de- mand, especially in northern China during the winter. "China has energy shortages every year. . . With strong customer demand for gas, clearly you will see gas ra- tioning under severe winter weather," said Neil Beveridge, a senior analyst with Sanford Bernstein. (Additional reporting by Chris Buckley) (Editing by Clarence Fernandez and Simon Webb) Thomson Reuters Asia Petroleum Review Employees of China Petroleum carry out routine checks at a gas refinery in Suining. REUTERS