China to import 57 % of oil by 2020

Nov 21, 2003 01:00 AM

China is likely to import at least 57 % of its oil supply by 2020 as its energy needs soar in line with rapid economic development, energy experts said. By 202, China's oil imports are likely to reach 200 mm tons, meeting 57 % of the 352 mm tons needed to fuel growth in transportation, construction and industry, said Zhu Yuezhong, deputy director of the Beijing Energy Efficiency Centre.
"China's import dependency is widely expected to grow from around 15 % today to something in the range of 40 % (by 2020)," a European Union oil, gas and petrochemicals group said in a report released at the seminar. "Hence energy security is becoming a critical policy issue for the government," the report said.

Zhu said his forecast was based on the best of three possible scenarios for China's energy development.
"In the best scenario, there will be a higher rate of use of natural gas and better energy efficiency," he told an EU-China seminar on China's oil, gas and petrochemical industries. Transportation policy, especially the use of cars, would be the "outstanding issue" in determining China's future energy needs, he said.

In Zhu's worst scenario, China's energy needs are forecast to be some 3 % higher than the "ideal" scenario projected by his centre. European experts at the forum said Zhu's best scenario appeared "very optimistic". Improvements to China's energy mix will face "serious difficulties", Zhu admitted.
Nuclear power will supply some 40 GigaWatt of electricity in 2020, about 19 times the current output, while wind energy will generate 125 times more electricity. But China will continue to rely on coal to supply 58 % of its primary energy needs, Zhu said.

China has been a net importer of oil since 1993. It is likely to import more than 80 mm tons of oil this year, with a forecast increase next year pushing China above Japan as the world's second-biggest oil importer behind the United States, senior oil industry official Wang Jiming was quoted as saying.
Wang said Chinawould use an "integrated approach" to secure oil and gas imports, buying more oil in North Africa and Southeast Asia to avoid over-reliance on traditional suppliers in the Middle East.
It now consumes about 5 mm bpd (one barrel equals 159 litres), with imports accounting for about one-third of consumption, the EU report said. China is expected to rely on imports for 50 % of its oil supply by 2010, consuming some 7 mm bpd, and will continue to become more dependent on oil imports for the next decade.
The EU report quoted an International Energy Authority forecast that Chinese crude oil imports could rise to as much as 8 mm bpd by 2020.

Source: Business Report
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