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China to be world's largest oil importer

2013-08-14 11:12 China Daily Web Editor: qindexing

China is set to overtake the United States as the world's largest net oil importer from October, according to US figures, spurred by rising Chinese demand and increasing US production.

Next year, China's net oil imports will exceed those of the US, and the gap will continue to widen, the US Energy Information Administration said in a report.

China is already the world's biggest energy user and the second-largest oil consumer after the US.

The shift has been driven by steady growth in Chinese demand, increased US oil production and stagnant or weakening demand in the US, the EIA said.

A graph on the EIA's website shows China's net imports steadily rising, with those of the US falling at a faster rate. The crossover point comes in two months.

US annual oil output is expected to rise 28 percent between 2011 and 2014 to nearly 13 million bpd, while Chinese production is forecast to grow 6 percent. China's output will stand at just one-third of the US level in 2014, the EIA said.

China's liquid fuel use will increase 13 percent over the period to more than 11 million bpd while US demand hovers near 18.7 million bpd.

China imported 26.11 million metric tons (186.5 million barrels) of crude oil last month. Its exports were a mere 170,000 tons, according to official Beijing figures.

China's rise as an oil importer will have a profound impact, the China Business News said on Monday.

"China and the US will no longer be pure competitors in the energy sector - China is likely to import energy in bulk from the US," wrote commentator Li Dongchao.

"The (rising) independence of US energy will support the rejuvenation of US manufacturing, which will renew competition with Chinese manufacturing," Li said.

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