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Oil imports 'less than 60% of consumption by 2020'
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China will try its utmost to keep its annual oil imports below 60 percent of its total oil consumption by 2020, a researcher with the country's top oil company said yesterday.


"I can assure you that China's oil and gas production is still huge because of the reserves potential. Currently China's production is rising to its peak season, which may last 30 years," Zhao Wenzhi, director of the Research Institute of Petroleum Exploration & Development affiliated to China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC), said yesterday.


CNPC is China's top oil and gas producer.


Zhao predicted that China's oil output might reach 200 million tons by 2020. And the production volume will remain unchanged for a long period.


Demand for oil is estimated to hit 450 to 600 million tons in China by 2020.


"We can't fully meet our oil demand with local production. That is the reality. But we will try to produce 40 percent of the oil we need by then," Zhao said.


Meeting the domestic production target of 2020 requires efforts in intensifying local exploration and production, obtaining oil from overseas assets, oil trading and raising energy saving, according to Zhao.


As a clean-energy option to supplement oil, natural gas will play a more important role in meeting the country's energy demand.


By 2030, China's natural gas production will exceed 250 billion cubic meters, the CNPC's top researcher forecast.


China's natural gas almost equals crude oil in terms of resource volume. But the clean energy lags behind oil production in China, Zhao added.


China extracted only 58.6 billion cubic meters of natural gas last year. It has extractable oil and gas reserves of as much as 21.2 billion tons and 22 trillion cubic meters respectively, not considering the resources in the southern part of the South China Sea, Qiu Zhongjian, of the Chinese Academy of Engineering, said earlier this week.


As the global oil price stays high, China is devoting more efforts to upstream oil and gas exploration both at home and abroad.


(China Daily November 2, 2007)


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