China is taking steps to cope with soaring international oil
prices, according to Wang Tao, senior vice president of the World
Petroleum Congress (WPC) and chairman of the Chinese National
Committee for the WPC. He was speaking at the WPC's First Youth
Forum on Monday.
Crude prices have jumped more than US$10 in the past month. US
light crude hit a new high on Monday at US$55.33 per barrel, for a
gain of 68 percent since the start of the year. Brent crude futures
in London matched an all-time high at US$50.40 per barrel, up 47
cents. Heating oil also set a new record on Monday at US$1.56 per
gallon on the Nymex amid supply concerns.
Few analysts see any end in sight to the upward trend, and some
are predicting prices touching the US$60 mark by the end of the
China is now the second largest crude oil importer in the
world, with annual imports of over 100 million tons. To reduce the
impact of soaring prices, the government is trying to diversify its
Using new technologies to explore domestic oil reserves is the
main method for China to meet rising demand, said Wang. The country
has rich petroleum resources, with proven reserves accounting for
less than 40 percent of the estimated total.
"Seeking more international cooperation in petroleum exploration
and development has great potential for China," said Wang. So far,
China has signed contracts with companies in 19 countries to
explore oil fields.
Alternative energy is another way to reduce demand for oil, said
Wang. Natural gas appears to be one solution, as China is only
using 10 percent of its total reserves.
China is also rich in such environmentally friendly sources as
solar energy, wind and hydropower. However, its application of
these sources accounts for less than 1 percent of total energy use,
China' oil imports jumped nearly 40 percent year-on-year in
the first eight months of 2004, to 79.9 million tons. The Customs
Bureau reported that the country processed a record 23.5 million
tons, or 5.7 million barrels per day, in August.
(Xinhua News Agency, China.org.cn October 19, 2004)