China is set to become the second biggest importer of liquefied natural gas (LNG) by volume this year, Reuters reports.

Rising demand caused by the government’s program to switch from coal to natural gas is causing Chinese imports to rise. LNG imports have jumped 50% this year to approximately 38 million tons, according to the news agency.

Japan remains the top importer of LNG, importing 83.5 million tons. South Korea falls just short of China, importing 37 million tons, according to Reuters.

Chinese demand could climb further.

“We are expecting to see even higher surges in winter demand over the next three to four years as the Chinese government pushes more broadly its gas-for-coal drive,” a Gas Analyst at Wood Mackenzie, Wang Wen, told Reuters.

Asian spot prices have risen with Chinese demand to hit $11.2 per million British thermal units (mmBtu), according to the news agency.