Corrected: Coal-to-olefins to help slow China oil use

08 March 2011 16:47  [Source: ICIS news]

Correction: In the ICIS news story headlined "Coal-to-olefins to help slow China oil use - Sinopec official" dated 8 March 2011, please read in the fourth paragraph …about the level of oil imports, Li said… instead of … about the level of oil imports, which at around 1m bbl/day currently represent around 30% of its consumption, Li said.…. A corrected story follows.

HOUSTON (ICIS news)--Development of coal-to-oil and coal-to-naphtha capacity would be among the factors that will slow China's oil consumption growth rate to 4% or less in coming years, a Sinopec official said on Tuesday.

Those processes could replace as much as 50m tonnes/year of oil-based feedstocks by 2020, said Xihong Li, president of Sinopec's Economics & Development Research Institute.

Li did not give any forecasts of coal-based chemical outputs in a presentation at the Cambridge Energy Research Associates (CERA) conference in Houston, an annual event that is one of the largest global gatherings of energy industry executives.

The Chinese government is "definitely concerned" about the level of oil imports, Li said.

Beijing is therefore promoting a number of new technologies and policies to slow oil demand growth, he said.

Diesel demand grew at 8.6%/year between 2001 and 2010, while demand for kerosene - mainly jet fuel - grew at around 7%/year from 2000 to 2009, he said.

Among the new energy sources, natural gas is making inroads in the vehicle fuel market - especially in public transportation, where vehicles are in constant use.

As of 2009, China had 1m vehicles using natural gas, using the equivalent of 10% of total gasoline consumption, Li said. An estimated 100,000 vehicles using natural gas were added in 2010 alone.

Government subsidies for electric cars would help put 500,000 to 1m of those vehicles on the road by 2015, with that figure perhaps rising to 2m-4m by 2020, Li predicted.

Biofuels, methanol and electrification of railways would also contribute to dampening China's oil growth demand, he said.

Paul Hodges studies key influencers shaping the chemical industry in Chemicals and the Economy

By: Stephen Burns
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