(MENAFN - Kuwait News Agency (KUNA)) China will import about 60 percent of the 500 million metric tons of oil it uses next year, the state-owned China Daily reported on Friday, citing government officials.
"The country's use of crude oil will continue to increase in the coming years but at a modest pace," an official from the energy research institute of the National Development and Reform Commission, said on Thursday.
This year, China is expected to import about 280 million tons of crude oil, or 57 percent of all of the oil it uses, according to an industrial report from state-run China National Petroleum Corp. Since China became a net importer of crude oil in 1993, it has gone from importing 6 percent of the oil it consumes to more than 50 percent in 2009.
"The relationship between China and the world in the oil industry will become even deeper," said Zhong Shan, vice-minister of commerce, during the first China International Oil and Gas Trade Conference, held in Shanghai on Thursday. China is calling for greater cooperation with foreign companies that are engaged in oil and gas exploration.
Zhong added that emerging economies' increasing demand for crude oil, including China's, has helped bring stability to the global crude market. In 2011, China, India, Brazil and Russia used 880 million tons of crude, a fifth of world consumption. China's share of the global figure was 11.4 percent, he said.
The newspaper also said the world's second-biggest energy user will continue to import increasing amounts of crude oil from Russia and the Middle East, while Africa, South America and the Caspian Sea are all expected to supply more to China in the future.
This week, the International Energy Agency predicted that the US will become the world's largest producer of crude oil by 2020, overtaking Saudi Arabia. That, in turn, will lead international crude traders to direct their attention more to Asia, it said.
Among crude-oil markets in Asia, foreign oil companies have their eyes most on China, the Beijing-based daily said.
"We have been shifting our business from Japan to China because China is consuming more crude in Asia, and we want to sell as much as we can to this market," Yousef M. Al-Sulaiti, managing director of the crude oil business of state-run Qatar International Petroleum Marketing Co Ltd, was quoted as saying.
He said up to about 80 percent of the company's crude output is sold to Asia and China has begun to buy a larger portion of that.