CNPC think tank – China oil consumption to peak by 2030
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Chinese oil consumption will peak by 2030, when demand will amount to 780 million tonnes, Reuters news agency reported, quoting the latest forecast from the China National Petroleum Company’s (CNPC) research arm, the Economics and Technology Research Institute (ETRI). A year earlier, the ETRI forecast that the peak would come in 2025 with its level amounting to 730 million tonnes.

    By way of comparison: In 2020, demand for oil in China stood at 669 million tonnes, according to BP’s Statistical Review of World Energy.

    The factor behind the reassessment was the high sustainability of the petrochemical industry which, over the next decade, could become the locomotive of demand for oil.

    World-wide demand for oil in the transport sector in the period up to 2030 will rise by an average of 0.6 % per year (taking into account pre-crisis levels), while the rise in demand for petrochemicals will be 2.1 %, according to a forecast by the International Energy Agency (IEA). The pandemic has not sapped demand for the petrochemical industry – world-wide consumption of polypropylene (PP), one of two polymers most in demand, rose by 5 % (to 79.9 million tonnes), with a rise of 7 % for lowpressure polyethylene-HDPE (to 51.8 million tonnes according to figures from the Independent Commodity Intelligence Services (ICIS).

     China has played a key role in upholding this stability, accounting for 100 % of the growth in demand for PP and nearly 60 % of the growth in demand for HDPE.

    Demand for oil from the petrochemical industry will rise in China up to 2030, the ETRI report said. Consumption of petrol, diesel and aviation fuel – oil products in the transport sector – will hit a peak in 2025, partly because of increasingly widespread use of electric vehicles. Their share of the total number of vehicles in use in China will reach 10 % by 2028, according to the ETRI forecast. At this time, the share of electric cars stands at 2.3 %, Argus reports.

    The ETRI analysts, in their forecast, also set down a date for a forthcoming plateau in coal consumption (2021-2030) as well as a peak in demand for gas (2040). Power generation will remain the driving force behind demand for coal: in 2020, China accounted for more than 80 % of world-wide additions to coal-fired generating capacity (73.5 of 87.4 GW, according to figures from Global Energy Monitor).

    As of the beginning of 2021, there was 88.1 GW of coal-fired capacity under construction, with a further 158.7 GW in the pre-investment stage (compared to world-wide figures of 179.7 GW and 323.5 GW respectively).

   By the end of 2021, China may for the first time in its history become the biggest importer of liquefied natural gas (LNG). In the first 11 months of the year, China imported 97.2 billion cu.m. of LNG, while Japan, the world leader for quite some time, accounted for imports of 94.3 billion cu.m., according to Refinitiv data.

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