China plans to begin filling the tanks at its third strategic oil reserve in east China's Shandong Province by the middle of this year to help secure the country's fuel supplies.
China Petroleum and Chemical Corporation (Sinopec) will complete the Huangdao base in Shandong, said Du Guosheng, assistant to the president of Sinopec.
The capacity of the Huangdao base is expected to reach 19 million barrels, Du said.
China began building four oil reserves in 2004. Two are in Zhejiang Province, both of which have started operating. The others are respectively in northeast China's Liaoning Province, which has not be completed, and in Shandong Province, which will be in operation by the middle of this year.
Some 6 billion yuan have been invested to secure reserve capacity of 10 million tons at the four sites.
China is planning to build the second set of strategic oil reserves, which are expected to add another 28 million tons of storage capacity, according to sources with NDRC.
Gansu Province in the northwest has been selected as a site for one of the new reserves, while southern Guangdong and Hainan provinces are hoping to be chosen as other sites as they are close to PetroChina's oil refineries in southern China.
Du also said the company will complete talks with Saudi Aramco, which is looking to buy a 25-percent stake in the Sinopec's Qingdao refinery, which has a processing capacity of 200,000 barrels a day.
The country imported 138.8 million tons of crude oil in 2006, up 16.9 percent from 2005. Imports that year accounted for 47 percent of the country's consumption. Industry observers have warned China will likely need to import more than 50 percent of its petroleum needs in a year or two.
(Xinhua News Agency March 9, 2007)