China to Become Biggest Net Oil Importer by October, EIA Says

China will surpass the U.S. by October to become the world’s biggest net oil importer on a monthly basis, the Energy Information Administration said.

Imports by the second-biggest oil-consuming country will reach 6.45 million barrels a day, surpassing the U.S.’s 6.23 million, the EIA, the Energy Department’s statistical arm, said in this week’s Short-Term Energy Outlook. On a yearly basis, China’s overseas purchases will surpass the U.S.’s next year.

“The imminent emergence of China as the world’s largest net oil importer has been driven by steady growth in Chinese demand, increased oil production in the United States and a flat level of demand for oil in the U.S. market,” the agency said today in a report on its website.

China will use 11 million barrels a day of oil in October, the outlook showed. The U.S. will use 18.6 million.

Oil production, including crude and other liquids, will rise to 12.4 million barrels a day in the U.S. by October. China’s production will be 4.57 million.

Net Chinese imports will be 6.57 million barrels a day next year, higher than the U.S.’s 5.71 million, EIA data showed.

U.S. oil production will rise by 28 percent between 2011 and 2014 to nearly 13 million barrels a day, primarily from shale oil, tight oil and Gulf of Mexico deepwater fields, the EIA said. China’s production will grow 6 percent over the period to be a third of U.S. levels in 2014.

China’s liquid-fuels use will grow by 13 percent between 2011 and 2014 to more than 11 million barrels a day. U.S. demand is forecast to stay around 18.7 million barrels during the period, below the peak consumption level of 20.8 million in 2005, the EIA said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Moming Zhou in New York at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Dan Stets at

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