Chinese oil demand to peak before 2030: CNPC

  • : Coal, Crude oil, Natural gas, Oil products, Petrochemicals
  • 21/12/28

China's petrochemical needs will fuel oil demand growth while a slowdown in incremental oil demand in the transportation sector will contribute to a peak in overall oil consumption before 2030, according to the latest forecast by state-controlled CNPC's research arm the Economics and Technology Research Institute (ETRI).

Chinese oil demand is expected to peak at 18.2mn b/d (780mn t/yr) before 2030, with the petrochemicals sector driving oil demand through 2030. But oil demand is forecast to drop to 8.8mn b/d by 2050 and 5.4mn b/d by 2060.

This will exacerbate the oversupply in refining capacity after 2030, requiring refiners to increase production of higher-end products, rather than transportation fuels, as part of energy transition efforts, the ETRI said. Beijing has already outlined a crude distillation capacity limit of 20mn b/d for Chinese refining capacity in 2025.

Electrification, or the use of electric vehicles, will be especially rapid in the transportation sector between 2031-50. This will reduce gasoline and diesel demand, although petrochemicals demand is still expected to be relatively stable during this period.

Demand for oil products including gasoline, diesel and jet fuel could peak at 8.4mn b/d by 2025 and decline to 1.3mn b/d by 2060, driven by the rise of new energy vehicles (NEVs) and development of railways. Chinese apparent products demand, including gasoline, diesel and jet fuel, averaged 6.9mn b/d in January-November, data from the National Bureau of Statistics and Customs Bureau show.

China's auto fleet still has room to grow, the ETRI said. NEVs will account for 10pc of China's total auto fleet in 2028, and rise to 80pc in 2052. NEVs currently account for just 2.3pc of vehicles in China.

China's auto sales in 2022 are expected to rise by 5.4pc from a year earlier to 27.5mn, with NEVs leading the increase, according to the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers (CAAM).

Sales of NEVs are forecast to rise by 47pc to 5mn in 2022, the CAAM said.

The country's primary energy consumption could also peak during 2030-35, at around 6bn t of standard coal equivalent (tce), then decline to 5.7bn tce by 2060 as renewables production rises, according to the ETRI. China only just met its 2020 consumption target of 5bn t tce with demand of 4.98bn tce.

The ETRI has also forecast Chinese coal demand to peak by 2025, and gas demand by 2040.

The institute expects Chinese crude production to remain at around 4mn b/d before 2035 but for natural gas output to grow at a faster pace, reaching 250bn m³/yr by 2030 and 350bn m³/yr by 2060. Chinese crude output averaged 100,000 b/d or 3pc higher on the year at 3.94mn b/d in January-November. Gas output rose by 8.9pc on year to 186bn m³ in January-November.

For 2021, national crude output is expected at 3.98mn b/d and gas output at 206bn m³, the National Energy Administration said.

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