China will fully evaluate its oil and natural gas reserves to help the government draw up an energy strategy to meet the challenges of growing domestic energy demand and oil import.
"The target of the evaluation is to gain precise information on the oil and natural gas reserves in the country and forecast the future demand of oil and gas," said Sun Wensheng, minister of Land and Resources, at a national meeting that opened here Monday.
He said the results of the evaluation would serve as an important basis for the government to map out major strategies of economic development and guide the exploration of oil and natural gases in the country.
The evaluation will be divided into three stages, with the field evaluation work starting from April 2004 and lasting for one year and covering the reserves of traditional oil and gas, coal gas, oil sand and oil shale within China's land and sea territories.
China conducted two evaluations in this regard in the 1980s and1990s, but this would be the first time for such work to be organized by the central government and focus on how many such reserves can be extracted, figures of which are only estimates.
It is estimated that China has between 13 billion to 16 billion tons of oil reserves and between 10 trillion to 15 trillion cubic meters of natural gas.
"To formulate a macro-economic policy based on estimated figures will produce negative results," Sun warned, urging all departments concerned to work hard to obtain exact figures.
China became an net oil importer in 1993, and since then, oil import has been on a rapid rise, and it is estimated that by 2020,as much as 60 percent of oil demand in the country will have to be met by imported oil.
(Xinhua News Agency December 2, 2003)