China suffers natural gas shortage as coal ban backfires

December 14, 2017

Chinese authorities have commandeered supplies of natural gas to heat homes, forcing chemical plants and factories to shut down, after efforts to clear smog-choked air by banning coal use backfired by causing energy shortages in frigid weather.

The disruption highlights the government's difficulties in its campaign to clean up China's smog-choked cities and reduce reliance on coal.

The latest shortages stem from Beijing's effort since 2013 to shift 3 million households in China's north to gas. That boosted demand while supplies failed to keep pace.

The overall economic impact is unclear, but gas supplies to factories and other industrial users in areas throughout China have been reduced or cut off.

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