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China’s state-owned oil and gas giant CNPC has forecast a peak in oil demand coming to China by 2030.
The level at which demand is seen peaking is between 780 and 800 million metric tons annually. One metric ton of crude is equal to almost 8.5 barrels.
The report, as carried by Reuters, is an update on an earlier estimate by CNPC’s Economics and Technology Research Institute, which saw oil demand peaking at 780 million tons by 2030.
In its report, the Economics and Technology Research Institute also said that by 2030, petrochemicals will account for 30% of oil demand. This still leaves the bulk of demand in the fuels segment. Over the longer term, demand is seen falling to 220 million tons annually, which should happen by 2060.
ETRI also forecasts peak gas demand, which will take longer to arrive: per the estimate gas demand in China should peak at 6.6 billion cubic meters in 2040.
Earlier this year, Sinopec and PetroChina saw gasoline demand in China peaking in 2025, driven down by rising sales of electric vehicles. The IEA and Rystad Energy saw the peak in 2024. From there, peak oil demand is only a short step, according to the above forecasters.
But in August this year, the head of CNOOC went further, suggesting that oil demand in China may have already peaked this year. This is, of course, only a suggestion based on the expected slowdown in demand during the second half of the year, but it does indicate that the industry is preparing for the peak.
Everyone forecasting peak oil demand for China attributes it to rising EV sales, which have continued strong in China despite the end of central government subsidies. Local governments have stepped in with their own forms of incentives to keep the sales going.
By Charles Kennedy for Oilprice.com
Charles is a writer for Oilprice.com