China's imports of crude oil are expected to top 50 million tons in the year 2000, preliminary statistics show.
China's oil imports have been on the increase in recent years, surpassing 40 million tons last year.
Analysts note that international market changes will affect a country's economy when it imports more than 50 million tons of oil a year; measures should be taken to safeguard oil safety when the figure exceeds 100 million tons.
China is a leading oil producer in the world with its oil output ranking 5th place for 13 consecutive years. However, China is also a big oil consumer. As of 1993, the country shifted to an oil importer from an oil exporter.
In 1999, China's oil output continued to stand at around 160 million tons, but its demand reached 200 million tons, and is still growing at an annual rate of about four percent.
The trend of demand surpassing supply will continue provided no major discoveries or technological breakthroughs are made. The oil imports are expected to make up 40 percent of total consumption in 2010, experts note.
China found 20.3 billion tons of oil reserves and 2.2 trillion cubic meters of natural gas reserves by the end of last year. However, the country's per capita oil reserves accounts for only one fifth of the world's average.
Experts note that greater efforts should be made to upgrade exploration skills in order to ensure the stable increase of oil output.