China is the most populated country in the world. With its advancements in the energy industry and rapid-growing economy, China is poised to be be the largest global energy consumer and producer. Due to its increasing energy needs, especially in recent years, China’s position in the world energy market is profound. China was the second largest net importer of crude oil and petroleum products in 2009, and in 2011, the country was the world’s second largest oil consumer behind the U.S.

China’s demand for increased energy sources has been caused by factors of growth in trade, transportation and sector shifts in technology. With the rate of its not-so-steady growth, China has presented itself as a major player in the consumption and production in the energy sector.

The energy sources that make up China’s consumption come in three forms:


The majority of China’s total consumption as reported in 2012 was coal by 66%. Due to the causal effect of coal to heavy air pollution, China has attempted to use alternate sustainable energy sources like nuclear in an effort to cap use to 62% by 2020. According to China’s National Energy Agency, coal consumption is successfully decreased to a reported 64.2% in 2014. China’s government has plans to reduce CO2 emissions by 40% or more by 2020.

Oil, Petroleum & Other Liquids

In a January 2015 report by the Oil & Gas Journal (OGJ), China maintains 24.6 billion barrels of proved oil reserves, the highest in Asia and Russia. Its total petroleum and other liquid production is the fourth-largest in the world. In two decades, this production has grown 50%, but the rate of production has still not kept up with the demand. Two years ago, China produced almost 5 million barrels of petroleum and other liquids daily — 92% of which was crude oil. Environment Impact Assessment that this number will see a further increase by 5.7 million by 2040. However, the country has seen an oil consumption decrease since 2010 with China’s increased plans to reduce overconsumption.

Furthermore, The EIA reported that China lapped the United States at the end of 2013 as the world’s largest net importer of petroleum and other liquids, with consumption growth accounting for about 43% of the world’s oil consumption growth in 2014. EIA projects China will account for more than one-fourth of the global oil consumption growth in 2015.

Natural Gas

The use of natural gas has increased considerably in the past 10 years as China has been seeking to raise natural gas importing via liquefied natural gas (NYSEMKT:LNG). China nearly tripled its natural gas production to 3.8 trillion cubic feet in 2012. The country’s natural gas consumption showed a rise of 17% annualized from 2003 to 2013, becoming the third largest LNG importer in 2012. The following year, in 2013, the country imported 870 billion cubic feet (Bcf) of LNG.

With its steady growth and economic advancements, it is no surprise that the EIA forecasts that China’s oil consumption will exceed that of the United States by 2034. With plans to increase natural forms of energy production, China may also show itself to be a powerful contender in sustainable energy sources in the upcoming years.

This post was originally posted on Ping Jiang’s Medium:

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