China can maintain a healthy oil supply with new discoveries in its sea and
land-locked western regions, despite growing exploration difficulties, experts
Zhai Guangming, an academician of the Chinese Academy of Engineering, said
China's annual oil output could reach 185 million to 195 million tons.
lined up to be fueled at a gas station in Beijing on the night
of May 23, 2006. Most gas stations in the city were
flooded with cars as news went out that fuel price was
to be increased. [cnsphoto]
Speaking at this weekend's forum on the nation's energy strategy, he
said:"China is able to maintain such an output for some 10 to 15 years."
China produced 182 million tons of crude oil in 2005 with its dependency on
overseas oil and oil products reaching 42.9 per cent.
But according to Zhai, China can expect to see a stable growth of its proved
oil reserves for at least 10 years.
Zhu Jianjun, research division director of the China National Petroleum
Corporation (CNPC), China's largest oil producer, said that there is potential
for more oil to be discovered, despite the increasing difficulty in oil
By fully developing old oil fields in the east and increasing drilling in the
west and offshore areas, China's annual crude oil output could surpass 200
million tons by 2020 and remain at 170 million tons by 2030, said Zhu.
The National Development and Reform Commission has predicated that China will
consume 330-350 million tons of oil by 2010.
"We should step up efforts to produce as much as possible while strengthening
energy-saving measures," said Zhu.
He said major oil fields in East China have entered the output reduction
phase and new fields in the west and offshore are becoming the country's major
Many potential resources are spread across geologically-complicated regions
such as deserts, loess plateaus and offshore in deep water, and will need more
advanced oil exploration technology to extract, he said.
Zhu warned that China's oil supply is facing risks, which need to be solved
through increased domestic production.
"The risk isn't a shortage, but uneven distribution, which is causing
instability in the world oil market," he said, adding that soaring oil prices
will be the first hurdle China faces.
Statistics indicate that China spent US$43 billion importing oil in 2004,
rising to over US$50 billion in 2005.
Zhu predicted that China's spending on oil imports will keep rising as its
imports increase and the international oil price remains sky high.
Transport also poses a problem for China's oil supply, he said.
Currently, more than 70 per cent of China's oil imports pass through the
Malacca Straits in Southeast Asia.
"As the channel is now near to capacity, other channels have to be found,"
To counter the risks, China must increase its domestic oil and natural gas
supply as well as developing overseas sources to ensure diversified supply and
transportation channels, he said.
(China Daily 05/29/2006 page2)