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China's Oil Consumption, Imports Decreased in 2005
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China's oil consumption and dependence on imports decreased last year as a result of the government's energy-saving efforts.

The National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) said recently that China's dependence on oil imports was 42.9 percent in 2005, 2.2 percentage points lower than in 2004. It also said China consumed 318 million tons of oil last year, 1.08 million tons less than in 2004.

"The government's effort at building a resource- and energy-saving society has paid off," a commission spokesman said.

Lin Yueqin, a researcher with the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, attributed the decreased oil consumption and imports to soaring prices. "High oil prices forced users to consider saving measures, causing less imported oil."

Prices soared to a high of more than US$70 a barrel last year.

The State Council Development Research Centre, the highest think tank of the central government, forecast that domestic oil output would reach 184 million tons this year, which means that 44 percent of China's oil demand will come from importation.

Pan Derun, deputy president of China Oil and Chemical Industry Association, said China would try to double its oil supply to meet its goal of quadrupling its economy by 2020.

Zhang Guobao, vice-minister of the National Development and Reform Commission, said China satisfies 94 percent of its energy needs.

"Most people are not aware that China is also a big energy exporter," Zhang said.

Besides coal, China is also the top coke exporter in the world, supplying 56 percent of the world's total demand in 2004.

Nearly 67 percent of China's energy need is met by coal. The ratio of oil in its energy consumption structure is about 24 per cent.

In addition, statistics indicated that the oil import volume of China, with a population of 1.3 billion, was 117 million tons in 2004. By comparison, that of the United States was 500 million tons, Japan 200 million tons and Europe 500 million tons.

(China Daily February 3, 2006)

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