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China Will Not Import Oil to Fill Strategic Reserve

China will not import crude oil to fill its reserve when the oil price remains high, a senior government official said in Beijing Tuesday.

"It would be a great financial risk for China to buy oil at the international market for its strategic reserve program as the current global oil price has been fluctuating at a high level," said Zhang Guobao, deputy director of the National Development and Reform Commission.

China will study other ways to gradually increase the state oil reserve, said Zhang at a press conference of the Information Office of the State Council, the country's cabinet.

China has started to formulate plans for the state oil reserve and construction of some oil reserve facilities is under way.

As for the scale of China's oil reserve, Zhang said some people suggest it should be equivalent to the amount of 90 days of oil consumption, while others hold it should be equivalent to that of a 120-day consumption.

"This (scale) should be determined according to China's real conditions," Zhang said.

It's not necessary for China to build up a state oil reserve as big as that of Japan which has to import every drop of oil from the world market, while China can satisfy most of the domestic demand with the crude produced at home, he added.

According to him, China is expected to produce 180 million tons of crude oil in 2005, compared with 175 million tons last year, when the country imported 117 million tons.

China's oil import accounted for 6.31 percent of the world total, 23 percent of that of the United States and 56 percent of that of Japan.

According to the official, China's energy production can feed 94 percent of its demand, while import is resorted to for the remaining 6 percent.

This means China's energy self-sufficiency rate is over 20 percent higher than the average of countries of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, said Zhang.

China's per capita primary energy consumption is 1.08 tons of oil equivalent, 66 percent of the world average and 13.4 percent of the United States, Zhang said.

In 2004, China's primary energy production amounted to 1.845 billion tons of coal equivalent (TCE) and total energy consumption reached 1.97 billion TCE, which made the country the second largest energy producer and consumer in the world.

China also exported 80 million tons of coal in 2004, and its coking coal export accounted for 56 percent of the world trade.

(Xinhua News Agency September 13, 2005)

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