China scored new highs both in oil output and consumption in 2007, boosted by the robust growth momentum of its economy.
Sources with the China Petroleum and Chemical Industry Association, the industrial association of the country's petroleum and petrochemical sector, said on Thursday that China produced 186.7 million tons of crude oil in 2007, up 1.6 percent from 2006.
The output makes a record high although the growth was slow, said Deng Xianrong, a research member of the Development Research Center of the State Council.
China's net import of crude oil was 159.28 million tons last year, up 14.7 percent. The apparent consumption of crude oil, representing the sum of net imports plus output, rose 7.3 percent to 346 million tons in 2007. It means that some 46.05 percent of China's crude oil consumption has to be met by imports.
The sizzling economy, soaring investment growth in the heavy industrial sector and cars crowding urban streets have driven up China's demand for oil.
China's GDP grew 11.4 percent in 2007, the highest in the past 13 years with the industrial added value rising 18.5 percent from a year ago.
Oil output in China's offshore oil fields and those onshore in the western regions compensate for output decrease in old oil fields such as Daqing oil field in the northeastern region, said Deng Yusong.
Deng says, the oil output growth is still within the "normal range", but lag far behind rising domestic demand.
China refined 326.79 million tons of crude oil in 2007, representing a growth of 6.4 percent, similar to the year-on-year growth of 6.3 percent in 2006.
The output of refined oil products composed of gasoline, diesel and kerosene is 195 million tons, up 7.2 percent year-on-year. The growth is 2.5 percentage points higher than a year before.
The diesel shortage that occurred in the country in the second half of 2007 led to a sharp rise in diesel imports. China imported 1.62 million tons of diesel in 2007, up 130.1 percent year-on-year, with export volume of diesel dropping 14.9 percent to 660,000 tons.
China exported 4.64 million tons of gasoline in 2007, up 32.4 percent. Surplus refinery capacity of gasoline and gap between domestic and overseas prices were major factors contributing to rising export volume, said Tian Chunrong, an engineer with Sinopec Corp.
Deng Yusong predicts that China's oil consumption will continue to grow in 2008 with domestic crude oil output remaining within the growth range of one to two percent.