China depends more on overseas oil

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As China's energy demands grow, its dependency on imported foreign oil will continue to increase from the current level of 58 percent, according to Zhang Guobao, a former director of the National Energy Administration under the National Development and Reform Commission.

"China is importing an increasing amount of crude, which is the most crucial issue for the country's energy supply," said Zhang during the Boao Forum for Asia Annual Conference.

"The country is working on developing alternative forms of energy, such as electronic vehicles - but these are still at a very early stage," he said.

China's domestic crude oil output is about 207 million metric tons, ranking it fourth or fifth in the world, according to different standards, said Zhang.

In the past year, China imported 271 million tons of crude and its December imports surpassed those of the US.

Earlier this month, the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries released a report suggesting that China's growing refinery capacity will lead to increasing crude demand, while the United States is becoming less dependent on foreign energy supplies, as a result of the development of its shale gas industry.

China may replace the US, to become the largest crude importer in 2014, said the OPEC report.

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