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Half of China's oil consumption will depend on imports within four years
( 2003-12-11 22:36) (Xinhua)

China will see an increasing dependency on crude oil imports, with the amount of crude oil imported rising from 31 percent in 2002 to 50 percent four years later in 2007, according to official research released in Beijing Thursday.

Research by China's Ministry of Communications on marine oil transportation predicted that the country would import 100 million tons of crude oil in 2005, 150 million tons in 2010 and in 2020 the number would soar to 250 to 300 million.

China would become the world's second biggest oil consumer following the United States and third oil importer after the United States and Japan, said the research report.

The more than 6 percent annual growth of China's national economy and the readjustment of the economic structure are behind the country's higher demand for crude oil, but the oil production failed to keep pace with the economic growth and only registered 1.7 percent growth annually, the research report pointed out.

The shortage of oil supply forced China to become a net oil importer since 1993. Official statistics showed that the volume of imported oil has increased from over 20 million tons to 70 million tons from 1996 to 2002.

China imported approximately 1.4 million barrels of crude oil per day in the international market during the time, the report added.

The experiences of foreign developed countries proved that the oil consumption would increase at a low speed in an economy backed by industrial sectors, and during the industrializing process before the tertiary industry becomes the backbone of the national economy, the domestic oil consumption would undergo a rocketing growth, the report further explained.

China would be in a vital period of industrialization from now until 2020, stressed the report, predicting that China's average annual consumption of crude oil would secure an increase by 4 percent in the coming five to ten years.

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