PROJECT | Staff Reporter, China

China will be world’s top oil importer by 2017

Will pay US$500 billion annually for foreign crude by 2020.

Energy consultancy group Wood Mackenzie estimated China’s crude imports will rise to 9.2 million barrels per day by 2020 or 70% of its demand, from 2.5 million bpd in 2005.

China’s demand growth will be powered by gasoline and diesel requirements, with the country’s total fleet of personal automobiles to reach 160 million by 2020, second only to the US, from just 20 million in 2005.

This means that some members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries that focus on the US for their crude sales will be compelled to shift their focus towards China.

China imported 271 million tons of crude last year worth US$221 billion.

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