The U.S. soon could hand off the title of world’s top crude oil importer to China, perhaps as early as this year.
In 2015, China imported an average of 6.7 million barrels of crude every day, an 8.8 percent year-on-year increase. That could rise to 7.5 million barrels a day this year, Fulian Zhong, vice president of Unipec, a Chinese trader that is a subsidiary of Sinopec, predicted Thursday during a seminar in Beijing. The U.S., meanwhile, has been relying less on imports. It imported an average of 7.3 million barrels of crude a day in 2015 vs. 9.2 million in 2010.
In February, the Asian nation imported a record 8 million barrels daily of crude oil, for a total of 31.8 million metric tons that represented 24.4 percent growth over February 2015. Slowing economic growth has not diminished China’s appetite for oil, in part because of continued low prices combined with governmental efforts to stockpile petroleum reserves… see more