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Sinopec: China's Oil Consumption Will Peak by 2030

China’s oil consumption is expected to peak at some point later this decade, between 2026 and 2030, due to an acceleration of EV adoption, the country’s largest refiner, China Petroleum & Chemical Corporation, or Sinopec, said in a long-term outlook on Thursday. 

Oil consumption in China – the world’s largest importer of crude oil and the second-biggest oil consumer after the United States – is set to peak at around 16 million barrels per day (bpd) in the period 2026 through 2030, according to Sinopec’s outlook to 2060 cited by Reuters.

This year, China’s oil consumption is expected at around 15.2 million bpd.  

In its outlook, Sinopec also predicts that Chinese natural gas demand will reach a plateau at some point around 2040 and account for 13% of the country’s energy use, compared to 9% of primary energy use expected in 2025.

Coal demand is set to peak much earlier—around 2025, according to Sinopec, which also expects non-fossil fuel supply to exceed 50% of primary energy use by 2045.  

In the near term, however, Chinese and global coal use are on the rise. 

Global coal demand is set to rise by 1.4% this year and surpass a record-high level of 8.5 billion tons for the first time, the International Energy Agency (IEA) said earlier this month. 

While coal demand in the United States and the EU is set for a 20% record decline, coal use in emerging economies “remains very strong, increasing by 8% in India and by 5% in China in 2023 due to rising demand for electricity and weak hydropower output,” the IEA said in its Coal 2023 annual report.

China’s coal demand is expected to drop next year and plateau through 2026, and global demand is set to decline to 2026, “but China will have the last word,” the IEA noted. 

The outlook for coal in China will be significantly affected in the coming years by the pace of its clean energy deployment, weather conditions, and structural shifts in the Chinese economy, according to the agency.  

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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