EIA: China to become world’s largest net oil importer by October

China will become the world’s largest net oil importer by October on a monthly basis and by 2014 on an annual basis, the US Energy Information Administration forecast in its August Short-Term Energy Outlook (STEO).

“The imminent emergence of China as the world’s largest net oil importer has been driven by steady growth in Chinese demand, increased oil production in the United States, and a flat level of demand for oil in the US market,” EIA said.

China’s liquid fuels demand is forecast to be more than 11 million b/d in 2014, up 13% from 2011. In the meantime, US demand wavers around 18.7 million b/d, falling well off the peak consumption level of 20.8 million b/d in 2005.

On the supply side, Chinese oil production is expected to rise at 6% from 2011 to 2014, well below the US production growth rate of 28% over this period. In 2014, Chinese production is forecast to be only a third of US production.

EIA expected that the gap between net oil imports in China and the US beyond 2014 will continue to widen, given the sustaining effects of higher US oil production and stagnant or declining US oil consumption, coupled with China’s projected strong oil demand growth and slow oil production growth.

Contact Conglin Xu at conglinx@ogjonline.com.

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