16 September 2013, News Wires – China plans to spend around 80 billion yuan ($13.07 billion) exploring oil and gas exploration this year in a quest to bolster energy supplies and reduce dependence on imports, according to state media reports.
The Asian behemoth – the world’s largest energy consumer – has steadily increased its expenditures on oil and gas exploration in the past decade or so. China invested 67.3 billion yuan in 2011, up from 19 billion yuan in 2002, Xinhua news agency reported, citing figures from the Ministry of Land & Resources.
That led to discoveries of more than 5 billion tonnes (36.75 billion barrels) in oil reserves and 2.6 trillion cubic metres in natural gas reserves between 2008 and 2011, Xinhua said.
However, China imported around 58% of its oil and 30% of its natural gas in 2012, Xinhua quoted a report by China National Petroleum Corporation’s Economics & Technology Research Institute as saying.
Some analysts expect China to overtake the US to become the world’s biggest oil importer by 2017. Much of it comes from the Middle East and Africa. Most of its imported gas comes via pipeline from from Central Asia, and by ship from places like Australia, Indonesia and Qatar.