UPDATE 2-China's CNPC forecasts 10 pct growth in gas consumption, bumper fuel exports

    * Gas demand, import growth to drop, but remain in double
    * 2018 oil demand growth at 4.6 pct, down from 5.9 pct in
    * Net diesel exports to rise 47 pct, gasoline exports by 23

 (Adds details on fuel surplus, comment, table, byline)
    By Muyu Xu and Chen Aizhu
    BEIJING, Jan 16 (Reuters) - China's natural gas consumption
will rise by 10 percent and imports by 13.4 percent in 2018,
China National Petroleum Corp (CNPC) forecast on Tuesday,
boosted by a steady push to replace coal with the
cleaner-burning fuel to curb air pollution. 
    China's gas demand will reach 258.7 billion cubic metres
(bcm) this year and total natural gas imports will grow to 105
billion cubic metres (bcm), CNPC            said in its annual
outlook released by the state oil giant's research institute. 
    While urban and industrial users will continue to drive the
growth in use of natural gas, this year's increase is expected
to ease from last year's 17 percent, CNPC said. 
    The growth in gas imports is also down from a more robust 27
percent in 2017.  
    "Seasonal shortages will persist this year due to the
coal-to-gas push and lagging constructions of storage ... but
due to slower economic growth, demand from the steel, glass and
ceramics industries will fall," CNPC said. 
    CNPC's demand forecast for natural gas was in line with Wood
Mackenzie's estimate pegging growth this year at 11 percent due
to the government being more conservative with gasification than
last year, said Wang Wen, an analyst with the consultancy. 
    The world's third-largest gas consumer has been hit by a
supply crunch this winter as the government's massive
gasification effort led to demand surges that were too fast for
the current state of supplies and infrastructure. 
    CNPC also said China's apparent oil demand will expand by
4.6 percent this year to 615 million tonnes, or 12.3 million
barrels per day (bpd). That compares with oil demand growth of
5.9 percent for last year. 
    CNPC also said it expects refining capacity at the country's
independent refineries to hit 230 million tonnes a year (4.6
million bpd) by 2020, accounting for just over a quarter of
China's total installed oil processing capacity. 
    CNPC also expected China's net diesel exports this year to
rise 47 percent to 23.8 million tonnes and gasoline by 23
percent to 12.8 million tonnes, as a result of a swelling
surplus in refining capacity and fuel production. 
    Dominant state refiners have been harried since 2016 by
growing competition from more than 30 independent refiners that 
Beijing has allowed to process imported crude oil, prompting
fuel exports to reach for record highs. 
    "Competition in the refined oil market will intensify with
the launch of new refining capacities in the second half of the
year," said CNPC, forecasting that this year's excess refining
capacity would reach 2 million bpd. 
    Two large greenfield refineries, one by private chemical
giant Rongsheng Group and the other by Hengli Group           ,
are scheduled to start operating 800,000 bpd of crude processing
capacity from the second half of 2018. 
    National crude oil throughput will likely grow 5.2 percent
this year to 598 million tonnes, or 11.96 million bpd, CNPC
said, maintaining a pace seen in the first 11 months of 2017.
    Domestic crude oil production will rise just 0.2 percent to
192 million tonnes, or 3.84 million bpd, CNPC forecast. That
compares with a 4.1 percent fall in January-November 2017. 
 Below lists CNPC's forecast details: 
                             2018 forecast  pct change vs 2017
 Crude output                    192 mln T                  0.2
 Net crude oil imports           451 mln T                  7.7
 Refinery throughput             598 mln T                  5.2
 Net new annual                   38 mln T                     
 refining capacity                          
 Total refining                807.5 mln T                  4.7
 Net exports of diesel          23.8 mln T                 47.0
 Apparent oil demand             615 mln T                  4.6
 Natural gas                     258.7 bcm                 10.0
 Natural gas imports               105 bcm                 13.4
 Net gasoline exports           12.8 mln T                 23.0
    (1 tonne = 7.3 barrels for crude oil) 

 (Reporting by Xu Muyu and Chen Aizhu; Editing by Tom Hogue)