China's natural gas market reform has taken a significant step forwards, with the establishment of the National Oil and Gas Pipeline Network Corporation, (PipeChina) in December 2019, as this is considered a milestone for gas infrastructure unbundling. Following this first step, further liberalization will be a key goal in the 14th five-year plan (FYP), spanning 2021– 2025, which is being drafted in 2020. While the government is currently laying the policy framework for the pipeline company, the next five years will need to see additional progress in a number of areas, including establishing a network code to link the inter-provincial trunk lines with the myriad of local companies, pursuing pricing deregulation, and developing functioning market signals. This, in turn, will require greater transparency and information sharing as well as designating a regulator to oversee the market.
(Published Oxford Energy Forum on September 2020: ISSUE 125)