The coal-dominated primary energy consumption structure has triggered a series of environmental problems such as air pollution, smog and climate warming. To solve these problems, China has no way but to accelerate the transformation of energy consumption and optimize the energy structure. Natural gas, the cleanest, low-carbon and efficient fossil energy, plays a very important role in the energy structure in developed countries. On the other hand, the consumption of natural gas in China only accounted for 5.8% of the primary energy consumption in 2015, representing a huge gap compared with the world average of 24.1%. Before a major breakthrough is made in the renewable energy technology, significantly increasing the proportion of natural gas in the primary energy consumption structure will become an important means helping China transition to a low-carbon energy structure. To this end, China has set a natural gas consumption target of 360 billion m3 for 2020.
Recently, the global natural gas market has encountered excessive supply and weak price. It is generally predicted by international research institutions that this situation will continue for several years, which will create a great external environment for the widespread use of natural gas in China and the accomplishment of the “13th Five-Year Plan” and mid- and long-term targets for natural gas development. China should utilize the favourable circumstance in the market and take the opportunity of low oil prices to create a new impetus for the development of natural gas consumption.