Abstract A series of nickel-based catalyst supported on silica (Ni/SiO2) with different loading of Ce/Ni (molar ratio ranging from 0.17 to 0.84) were prepared using conventional co-impregnation method and were applied to synthesis gas production in the combination of CO2 reforming with partial oxidation of methane. Among the cerium-containing catalysts, the cerium-rich ones exhibited the higher activity and stability than the cerium-low ones. The temperature-programmed reduction (TPR) and UV–vis diffuse reflectance spectroscopy (UV–vis DRS) analysis revealed that the addition of CeO2 reduced the chemical interaction between Ni and support, resulting in an increase in reducibility and dispersion of Ni. Over NiCe-x/SiO2 (x = 0.17, 0.50, 0.67, 0.84) catalysts, the reduction peak in TPR profiles shifted to the higher temperature with increasing Ce/Ni molar ratio, which was attributed to the smaller metallic nickel size of the reduced catalysts. The transmission electron microscopy (TEM) and X-ray diffraction (XRD) for the post-reaction catalysts confirmed that the promoter retained the metallic nickel species and prevented the metal particle growth at high reaction temperature. The NiCe-0.84/SiO2 catalyst with small Ni particle size exhibited the stable activity with the constant H2/CO molar ratio of 1.2 during 6-h reaction in the combination of CO2 reforming with partial oxidation of methane at 850 °C and atmospheric pressure.