China to overtake US as biggest oil importer in 4 yrs – consultant

20 August 2013 07:35  [Source: ICIS news]

SINGAPORE (ICIS)--China’s crude imports are expected to surpass those of the US around 2017, with the northeast Asian country’s oil import bill expected to reach $500bn (€375bn) by the end of the decade, industry consultant Wood Mackenzie said on Tuesday.

“The price China pays will far outstrip the peak cost ever incurred by the US of $335bn, with US import spend falling to only $160bn by 2020,” it said in a statement.

Over a 15-year period from 2005-2020, China’s oil imports are projected to rise to 9.2m bbl/day from 2.5m bbl/day, while US’ imports are expected to fall to 6.8m bbl/day from 10.1m bbl/day over the same period, according to Wood Mackenzie.

"By 2020, 70% of China's oil demand will come from imports. On the other hand, US import requirements will reduce due to tight oil [shale] production,” said William Durbin, Beijing-based president of global markets at Wood Mackenzie.

“It is important to note these opposing trends as it means the US is becoming more North America-centric for its supply needs and China more dependent on Middle East and OPEC crude. We will therefore see OPEC suppliers, who traditionally focused on the US for crude sales, compelled to shift their focus towards China,” Durbin said.

China’s strong requirement for imported crude can largely be attributed to its domestic oil demand growth, “driven by gasoline demand due to near-exponential increase in personal auto vehicles and diesel demand related to commercial trucking as China’s economy grows”, Wood Mackenzie said.

China is the world’s second biggest economy.

In the first seven months of 2013, the country imported 164,180 tonnes of crude.

China's growth in import demand can largely be attributed to its domestic oil demand growth, driven by gasoline demand due to the near-exponential increase in personal auto vehicles and diesel demand related to commercial trucking as China’s economy grows.

($1 = €0.75)


By: Pearl Bantillo
+65 6780 4359



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