These are exciting times in China, as the energy-hungry behemoth continues to transition from coal to natural gas to power its growth. And, Mabel Leung, ExxonMobil’s president of China Natural Gas Marketing is in the center of this generational change.

Meet the woman helping to shape China’s liquified natural gas (LNG) market and usher in a new era of energy efficiency.

Energy Factor: How successful has China been in cutting coal consumption and increasing its reliance on gas?

Mabel Leung: It’s encouraging to see China’s efforts and the environmental benefits of using more natural gas and less coal. It was clearly noticeable last winter with improved air quality and this is crucial for future generations. However, these efforts are only sustainable if they are done in a well-coordinated manner with the gas supply infrastructure in place to meet the gas demand increase. 

EF: What are you working on at the moment that will have a significant impact on China’s growing LNG market?

ML: China has recently become the second largest LNG importer, but there are still several hoops to jump through in its efforts to increase the ratio of natural gas in its total energy mix. Apart from providing China with a competitive supply of LNG, ExxonMobil is keen to partner with China in this journey by  sharing its decades of experience in the LNG value chain, as well as insights and knowledge on gas market liberalization in other markets as China formulates its own policies and market reform plans.

EF: What drew you to oil and gas as a career and can you talk about how you see the role of women in such a male-dominated industry?

ML: I focussed on my ability and what I could contribute rather than the demographics of the industry. Ultimately, it’s about performance. It has been a privilege to be in this business for 30 years and help fuel sustainable development and economic progress worldwide. These are exciting and dynamic times and I was instantly drawn in to the challenges we solve. Challenges enrich us. They build character and I embrace every adventure.

EF: Who inspired you to take the path you’ve chosen?

ML: I was fortunate to have many great mentors through my journey. They’ve shared the trials and tribulations and they’ve encouraged me to sail through any challenge. I’ll always remember when one mentor told me that: ‘People won’t remember what you have accomplished, but they will remember how you treat them.’ I’ve applied this in my interaction with customers and co-workers throughout my career.


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