Chinese oil demand to peak in 2030, CNPC researcher says

HOUSTON – Through the end of the decade, China’s oil demand growth will likely slow to roughly half its rate over the past five years and peak in 2030 as alternative fuels replace oil in China’s maturing economy, a CNPC researcher says.

Nearly two thirds of China’s massive population will move from rural communities to cities by 2020, and China’s oil-heavy manufacturing industry is expected to give way to the service sector, which in future years will account for more than half of China’s economy.

“China’s oil demand will be weakened and continue to decrease in the next five years,” said Qian Xingkun, vice president of the CNPC (China National Petroleum Corp.) Economics and Technology Research Institute.

As personal wealth increases in China, car ownership is expected to surge as much as 16 percent over the next half-decade, but new fuel-savings standards could cut 30 percent of energy consumption per car by 2030, he said.

China and other developing countries have seen stunning growth in their appetite for crude over the past 15 years, but economic worries are mounting. China’s oil demand growth has slowed from 7.8 percent in 2001 to 2005 to 4.2 percent from 2010 to 2015, and is expected to slow to an average 2.4 percent a year though 2020. After 2020, China’s oil demand growth could slow to 1.1 percent through 2030.

Xingkun said oil demand growth in China could peak in 2030 as alternative fuels replace more and more of the nation’s oil. Alternative fuels could make up 85 million tons of China’s 608 million tons of oil demand in 2020 and, in 2030, 120 million tons out of a demand of 680 million tons.