China’s Increasing Demand for Oil

Published on Author andrews

Chinese demand for fossil fuels is increasing as their economy gains strength. This year, China’s demand for oil is on track to increase nearly 5%. This increase in demand represents an increase in demand of 514 million metric tons of oil. Of this amount of oil, more than half of the amount will be met be imports. It is hypothesized that China will import about 290 million metric tons of oil. This is an increase in import amount of 7.3%. Logically, an increase in oil imports of this magnitude will cause the Chinese economy to be more dependent on oil imports. The question that rises for me in this situation is how the increase in Chinese foreign oil demand will affect the United States oil prices. One would think that greater Chinese imports would cause more competition between the U.S. and China for oil and subsequently drive oil prices up in the U.S. However, it is important to note that the market for oil is a world market. Whether China demands more oil or not, the oil supplied will be consumed, either by using it or storing it in reserves. Therefore, I believe that oil prices would most likely be the same regardless of China’s demand. However, it is important for China to be weary as their participation makes them vulnerable to spices in other nation’s economies. Source

2 Responses to China’s Increasing Demand for Oil

  1. I agree that since the market for oil is a world market the price for oil in the U.S. will not be affected too much by China’s increasing demand. What I found interesting in the article was what CNCP’s Xu Jianshan said, “For a long period, oil and gas will continue to be the majority of the energy supply because of the obstacles facing new energy’s development.” Here in the U.S. and in countries in Europe we are looking for new energy sources. Most people realize that oil is not the be all end all, and that we as a planet need to find alternate energy sources. I found it interesting that China has much obstacles blocking new energy sources. I wonder if in the near future they eliminate the obstacles and they themselves try to find alternate energy sources. They have been urbanizing at an incredible rate, and the discovery of a more efficient/effective energy source could be of great value to China.

  2. OK, let’s put on an empirical hat: what share would this represent? First we need to convert metric tons to barrels — I’ll look that up. Global supply is about 90 mil bbl/day. Now very roughly 6 bbl = 1 metric ton so this comes out to 15 mil mt / day or about 360 x 15 = 5400 mil mt. If I’ve done my conversion correctly — I suspect I haven’t — then this increase represents 10% of global supply. That surely will affect prices, ceteris paribus.

    Checking further, the International Energy Association “Key World Energy Statistics” puts 2011 petroluem output at 4,011 Mt. Now imports of 290 Mt x 7% = 20 Mt. That’s about 0.5%. Now if the rest of the world was in recession, that would be modest. But that’s not the case. From another perspective, KWES shows China as the #3 energy importer behind the US and Japan (not limited to but primarily petroleum).