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China's energy sector should open, diversify
Updated: 2004-02-25 15:57

A Chinese energy expert on February 25 called for the government to develop a more open and diversified strategy to cope with the country's serious energy challenge.

Tan Zhuzhou, president of China Petroleum and Chemistry Industry Association (CPCIA), told a national meeting on the petroleum and chemistry industry that diversifying oil and natural gas sources and optimizing China's oil refinery system should be a priority in solving the country's energy issues.

China's crude oil imports reached 91.12 million tons in 2003, surging 31.29 percent over 2002.

However, China's crude oil production only increased 1.5 percent in 2003, and the growth rate slowed down by one percentage point from the previous year.

To fulfill the open and diversification strategy, China should further explore energy markets, by investing capital and technology in Africa and South America, as well as the traditional Middle East region, Tan said.

He revealed that PetroChina, the country's largest oil producer, was already benefiting from the strategy.

The oil giant has produced 60 million tons of crude oil in the overseas markets and acquired a contracted portion of 30 million tons.

"Only by having abundant foreign oil supplies can China offset the negative impact of high oil prices on the country's rocketing economic growth," Tan said.

He said China could also invest more in the study of coal-use technologies and the conversion of the country's abundant coal resources into products to replace oil-based fuels.

China's domestic crude oil consumption totaled 252.31 million tons in 2003, growing 10.15 percent from 2002.

China became a net oil importer in 1993, bringing in 69.41 million tons of crude oil in 2002.

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