China oil demand to grow 4.3 percent in 2016: CNPC research

China's oil demand will grow 4.3 percent this year to surpass 11 million barrels per day, compared to 4.8 percent growth last year, the country's top energy group forecast on Tuesday.

State-owned China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) sees the country's oil demand rising to 566 million tonnes, or 11.32 million bpd in 2016, some 460,000 bpd higher than last year.

The forecast, in an annual report released by CNPC's research institute, also put the country's net crude imports up 7.3 percent this year to 7.14 million bpd.

A Chinese worker checks the valve of a gas pipe at a natural gas plant in Suining, in southwest China's Sichuan province.
STR | AFP | Getty Images
A Chinese worker checks the valve of a gas pipe at a natural gas plant in Suining, in southwest China's Sichuan province.

China, the world's second-largest oil consumer, raised crude imports by nearly 9 percent last year, or an additional 540,000 bpd, largely to boost government and commercial reserves as oil companies took advantage of the nearly 70 percent fall in global benchmark prices from mid-2014 to end-2015.

The CNPC demand forecast was higher than a recent report by the International Energy Agency (IEA) that put growth in China's demand for oil products in 2016 at 3.1 percent, down from the 5.6 percent growth it estimated for last year.

Reuters' own calculations show implied oil demand was up 3.1 percent to 10.63 million bpd in 2015.

CNPC also forecast that apparent natural gas consumption would rise 7.3 percent to 205 billion cubic metres (bcm) in 2016, compared with growth of 5.7 percent in 2015 as reported by China's top central planning commission.

Refinery capacity is set to reach 14.4 million bpd in 2016, up 1.3 percent, with throughput rising 5.3 percent to 10.98 million bpd, CNPC said.

The capacity of China's commercial oil reserves was 315 million barrels at the end of 2015, it said.

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