(MENAFN - Kuwait News Agency (KUNA)) China's crude oil dependency reached alarming levels in 2009 with more than 50 percent of the country's total oil consumption coming from abroad, state media reported Thursday.
Imported oil in December hit a record 21.3 million tons (5.03 million barrels a day (bpd)), pushing the country's total oil imports last year to 204 million tons (4.10 million bpd), the China Daily said, citing figures from the General Administration of Customs.
Imported crude oil accounted for 52 percent of China's total oil consumption last year, while the nation produced about 190 million tons (3.82 million bpd) of oil in 2009, the daily said. Importing more than 50 percent is a globally recognized energy security alert level, the daily quoted an expert as saying.
"This year we will control the amount of imported oil and accelerate the exploration of domestic oil and natural gas," Zhang Hongtao, chief geologist with the Ministry of Land and Resources, told the daily.
According to the daily, analysts believe that by 2020, nearly 65 percent of the oil consumed in China will have to be imported. China's oil dependency reached 45 percent in 2006 and grew at two percent every year after that.
The country, the world's second-biggest energy consumer, first became a net importer of crude oil in 1993.
China is not the only major country that has passed the 50 percent energy security alert level. Japan and South Korea import more than 90 percent of their crude oil, while the US imports more than 60 percent of its crude oil needs, China Business News reported on Wednesday