China may have become world's largest energy consumer

08:21, January 12, 2011      

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With China's ever-rising dependence on foreign oil as well as the rising import volume, analysts predict that in 2010, China may have surpassed the US to be the world's largest energy consumer, according to a China Business News (CBN) report Tuesday.

According to the data released by the General Administration of Customs of China Monday, in 2010, China imported 239 million tons of oil, 20.86 million tons only in December, which is a 17.5 percent high in comparison with last year.

Snatching such oil deals cost China $135.1 billion throughout the year 2010, up 51.4 percent year-on-year.

A Plan released at the beginning of 2009 had assumed that if the country's geology exploration is not developed accordingly; and the country does not change its current economic development pattern, in 2020, China's dependence on foreign oil will rise to 60 percent.

Data from the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) also showed that in 2020, China's oil demand will have reached 450 million to 610 million tons, of which the amount needed to be imported may reach 270 to 430 million tons.

Dong Xiucheng, vice director of the School of Business Administration of the China University of Petroleum (CUP) is on guesses that China, in 2010, may have overthrown the US as the world's largest energy consumer. "Even if China can reach its target of cutting carbon emissions by 40 percent to 50 percent, it will be hard to decline the oil dependence."

China became a net oil importer from net exporter in 1993. The increase in the output of some newly developed oil fields has not sustained the decline in output of some major oil fields, according to the report.

And now that the country's reserves start to shrink, and dependence expand, industry analysts say a good rule of thumb would be to copy from examples set by western countries in transformation of energy structure and suggest the country starts using clean energy like natural gas to ease on the reliance.

Chen Weidong, chief energy researcher at the China National Offshore Oil Corp. (CNOOC), said that in a time where the trend is the promotion of low carbon economy, natural gas is the energy that has the lowest emission. And as the world becomes more dependent on oil, the era of natural gas is just outside the door.

Source:Global Times
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