In 2017, LNG imports grew by 46% year-on-year to 38.3 Mt, making China the second-largest LNG importer after Japan. The level of strong growth sustained in 2018, with 45% growth year-on-year by the end of September. Surging LNG demand boosted the average utilisation rate to around 75% in January-September 2018, up from 64% in 2017. Seasonal infrastructure bottlenecks have become increasingly acute. NOCs are starting to realize that a buyer's market with an ample supply of cheap LNG might be soon replaced with one characterised by a shortage of gas. With many projects still in the pre-FID stage (which creates significant uncertainty for supply security post-2022), the best strategy is perhaps to secure contracted supply when the price is still competitive.