China’s Oil Demand is Growing, US Agency Says

From ChinaDaily

By Michael Barris

China’s escalating energy demand is increasing its reliance on oil imports despite the nation’s effort to control fossil-fuel consumption, according to a report from the US Energy Information Administration (EIA).

The independent statistical agency within the Department of Energy said it expects China to import more than 66 percent of its total oil by 2012 and 72 percent by 2040 “as demand is expected to grow faster than domestic crude supply”.

The State Council’s 12th Five-Year Plan for energy development, published early last year, included a measure to cap oil imports at 61 percent by the end of 2015. The aim was to limit dependence on fossil fuels while developing cleaner burning fuels to protect the environment after more than three decades of rapid economic growth. The 61 percent cap was an increase from 2012, when China imported 57 percent of its crude-oil needs.

Oil, China’s second-largest energy source, accounted for 18 percent of total energy consumption in 2011, according to the EIA. Coal, overwhelmingly the top source, supplied 69 percent.

“China has the largest oil and gas production in the Asia-Pacific region and the largest coal production in the world, but the country’s escalating energy demand is increasing its reliance on imports and need to secure more energy supplies,” the EIA said in a statement Wednesday.

China is the world’s second-largest oil consumer after the US and became the largest global energy consumer in 2010. A net oil exporter until the early 1990s, it became the world’s second-largest net importer of crude oil and petroleum products in 2009.

In last year’s fourth quarter, China actually became the largest global net importer of oil. The EIA projects China is likely to surpass the US in net oil imports on an annual basis by 2014 as US oil production and Chinese oil demand “increase simultaneously”.

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