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China: Historic fall in oil, gas imports ups confidence

China’s dependence on crude oil and gas imports dropped for the first time in history last year amid increasing efforts by domestic energy companies in local oil and gas field exploration and exploitation in the past few years, official figures showed.

Total crude imports declined last year to 508 million metric tons, down 1 percent year-on-year with the dependency rate down to 71.2 percent, the China Petroleum and Chemical Industry Federation said on Thursday.

Gas imports declined 10.4 percent year-on-year in 2022 to 152.07 billion cubic meters with its dependency rate dropping to 40.2 percent, after continuous and substantial growth of natural gas imports during the past few years, according to Fu Xiangsheng, vice-chairman of the CPCIF.

Analysts attributed the drop in oil and gas imports and decreasing energy dependency to higher oil and gas prices as well as domestic energy companies’ efforts in boosting local oil field exploration in recent years.

“China is becoming more self-sufficient in energy supplies thanks to rising domestic oil and gas production in recent years,” said Lin Boqiang, head of the China Institute for Studies in Energy Policy at Xiamen University.

“China has made progress in increasing domestic oil and gas production over the past few years, and also vows to continuously step up the construction of storage facilities and accelerate building trunk oil and gas pipelines to further ensure domestic energy security.”

China’s major oil companies, including China National Petroleum Corp, China Petrochemical Corp and China National Offshore Oil Corp, have ramped up exploration investment during the past few years with a batch of oil and gas fields coming on-stream, which in turn contribute significantly to the country’s decreasing reliance on oil imports.

The federation said crude output rose 2.9 percent year-on-year to 205 million tons, up for the fourth consecutive year, while domestic gas production rose to 217.8 billion cubic meters, up 6.4 percent year-on-year.

The domestic crude processing volume exceeded 920 million tons last year and China’s oil refining capacity surpassed that of the United States, whose crude processing volume was around 900 million tons in 2022, to become the world’s largest oil refining country, it said.

As China has been moving to promote high-quality development of the national economy, the scale, overall technical level and core competitiveness of the country’s petrochemical industry have achieved new leaps forward with a higher degree of scale concentration and clustering, said Fu.
Source: China Daily

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