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China's 2017 natural gas output up 8.5 pct at 148.7 bcm - state planner

BEIJING (Reuters) -

* China’s natural gas productions expanded 8.5 percent last year over 2016 to 148.7 billion cubic meters, the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) said on Thursday.

* The number compared to earlier report from the National Statistical Bureau that put last year’s gas output at 147.4 bcm, up also by 8.5 percent

* Neither NDRC or NSB specify what types of natural gas are included in their data, but market analysts say NDRC’s data includes also coalbed methane

* NDRC also said China’s natural gas consumption rose 15.3 percent last year to 237.3 bcm; imports of fuel gained 27.6 percent to 92 bcm

* At 15.3 percent, the demand expansion marks the fastest pace since 2012, fueled by China‘a massive push to heat millions of homes in northern China with gas and also thousands of industrial boilers to shift from coal to the cleaner fuel

Reporting by Chen Aizhu; Editing by Sunil Nair

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