China will become No 1 oil importer

Great wall of China

Source: China Daily

By Caroline Berg in New York (China Daily)

China’s appetite – and need – for energy is growing so fast that within the next four years the world’s most populous country will also become world’s biggest importer of crude oil, according to a report.

China is expected to spend $500 billion on crude oil imports by 2020, according to the report by consultancy group Wood Mackenzie. That expenditure eclipses the most the US has ever spent – $335 billion – on crude imports.

“The Chinese appetite for energy is growing a lot quicker than many people had assumed,” said John Licata, founder and chief energy strategist of Blue Phoenix Inc, a New York-based independent energy-research company. “Despite any slowdown in the economy, there still has been a rampant interest [in China] in securing assets related to energy from around the world.”

Now China relies heavily on crude imports from the Middle East and the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC). The report that was released on Tuesday estimates China’s net oil imports will rise to 9.2 million bpd by 2020 from 2.5 million barrels per day (bpd) in 2005.

While China will be importing more crude oil, net oil imports for the US are expected to fall from a peak of 10.1 million bpd to 6.8 million bpd. Its crude-oil import bill is predicted to fall to about $160 billion by 2020 as the US moves to replace imports from the Middle East and Africa with more domestic oil production from shale resources.

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Categories: Asia, China

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