China may have become world’s largest energy consumer
According to the data released today by the General Administration of Customs of China, Beijing imported 239 million tones of oil last year, of which 20.86 million tones were in December alone. The year's total cost of oil imports was up a whopping 51.4 percent to USD135.1 billion, the report said.
With these numbers it is likely that China may have surpassed the US to be the world's largest energy consumer, according to analysts.
Data from the National Development and Reform Commission also showed that in 2020, China's oil demand will have reached 450 million to 610 million tones, of which 270 to 430 million tones will have to be imported
Dong Xiucheng, vice-director of the School of Business Administration of the China University of Petroleum (CUP) said China, in 2010, may have overthrown the US as the world's largest energy consumer.
"Even if China can reach its target of cutting carbon emissions by 40 per cent to 50 per cent, it will be hard to decline the oil dependence." He said.
China became a net oil importer from net exporter in 1993. The increase in the output of some newly developed oil fields has not sustained the decline in output of some major oil fields, according to the report.
Now that the country's reserves start to shrink, and dependence expand, industry analysts say a good rule of thumb would be to copy from examples set by western countries in transformation of energy structure and suggest the country starts using clean energy like natural gas to ease on the reliance.
Chen Weidong, chief energy researcher at the China National Offshore Oil Corp. (CNOOC), said that in a time where the trend is the promotion of low carbon economy, natural gas is the energy that has the lowest emission. And as the world becomes more dependent on oil, the era of natural gas is just outside the door.