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Effort urged to offset oil import pressure
By Chen Qide (China Daily)
Updated: 2004-03-31 08:53

China should take measures to ease the nation's heavy reliance on imported crude oil, said Wang Jiming, President of the China Petroleum and Chemical Corporation.

"The country is now relatively short of crude oil resources with a large amount imported annually," Wang said at yesterday's symposium on the sustainable development of China's chemical industry.

Crude oil imported last year accounted for 61.2 per cent of total processed oil. The percentage is expected to rise to 62.5 this year he said.

The symposium was sponsored by BASF, Sinopec, Shanghai Huayi and Shanghai Chemical Industry Park to forecast future trends in sustainable development for the chemical industry in China.

"The competition on the oil and chemicals market will be fiercer as the retail and wholesale market for oil products opens by early 2005 and early 2007 respectively," Wang told the participants.

Sinopec will make efforts to explore and develop quality replacement reserves. Oil recovery in mature oil fields will be enhanced through technical upgrading, he added.

"We will increase the stake in overseas reserves and production to establish a stable and secure crude oil supply system in a bid to reduce risks on the crude oil market," he said.

Meanwhile, Sinopec will push forward its clean energy plan by popularizing the use of natural gas and using a limited amount of waste oil and petroleum coke .

Wang said Sinopec will invest 20 billion yuan (US$2.4 billion) over the next two years to strengthen hydrogenation and reforming capacity, and produce new clean fuels.

But insiders say the country still has a long way to go in popularizing natural gas among homeowners and industries.

Shanghai, a metropolis with a population of 16 million, for example, consumes a small amount of natural gas at present in its industries and residential sectors.

"The municipal government is working on policies to promote the use of natural gas," said Le Jingpeng, deputy director of the Shanghai Economic Commission.

According to Jiang Yingshi, director of the Shanghai Development and Reform Commission, the city sees the importance of using natural gas to restructure its power generation system.

"We will make every effort to enlarge the local natural gas market by using gas from the western regions, the East China Sea and imported LNG (light natural gas)," Jiang said.

With more gas used, industrial coal will be reduced by 50 per cent to 38 million tons by 2007. The city's aim is to let natural gas account for 10 per cent of its total energy consumption by 2010, he said.

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