China has overtaken the US as the world’s foremost importer of oil, according to data produced by the Energy Information Administration (EIA). Daily oil consumption in China now stands at 6.3million barrels per day, versus 6.1million in the US.
With a fast-growing economy, including a rapidly expanding car sales market, China has come to depend more on imports after finding its own domestic supply stretched by the needs generating by the ongoing economic boom; the value of China’s imports rose by almost 8% in September, a figure far in excess of predictions. Additionally, China has faced problems with its own refineries having suffered widespread damage following torrential rains and flooding throughout the country.
However, state-owned Chinese oil companies will recoup any business volume lost recently according to the EIA, who have also predicted that the current trend of oil consumption will continue to see Chinese demand outstrip America going into 2014.
Additionally, the US has shifted energy generation focus internally with widespread activity focusing on domestic fracking exploration. The developing shale gas market has meant Americans now pay almost a third of the gas prices faced by UK customers. As well as gas production increases, focused mainly in the rich deposits found in Pennsylvania, US petroleum production is also thriving. Activity to exploit shale-rich fields in Texas and North Dakota has grown exponentially, and the US is importing less product as a result.