TIANJIN - Sinopec, China's second-largest oil company, has begun construction of a commercial crude oil reserve base with a storage capacity of 3.2 million cubic meters in north China.
With an investment of 3 billion yuan (US$439 million), the base would cover 68 hectares in the Binhai New Area in the port city of Tianjin, said Wang Tianpu, president of Sinopec, or China Petroleum and Chemical Corp.
The base would include 32 oil tanks and was expected to be completed in 2012, he said.
The base would help meet the increasing oil demand in the northern regions, including Beijing, Tianjin and Hebei, and ensure the country's energy security, Wang said.
PetroChina, the country's largest oil company, said in early April that it had started to build a 1-million-cubic-meter commercial crude oil storage project in Tianjin.
China imported 51.3 percent of its crude oil last year, according to the National Energy Administration. In 2009, its crude output reached 189 million tonnes, while its crude imports hit 199 million tonnes.
China has launched the first and second phases of its strategic oil reserve program with a total storage capacity of 43.2 million cubic meters. The planned third phase would have a capacity of about 26.8 million cubic meters.