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Report: OPEC to shift focus to China

Aug. 20, 2013 at 8:12 AM   |   Comments

BEIJING, Aug. 20 (UPI) -- OPEC should start to shift its supply focus to the Chinese market as the United States starts using more of its own oil, Wood Mackenzie said.

The energy analysis company said Chinese demand for crude oil should grow substantially. Beijing should spend about $500 billion on crude oil by 2020, it said.

The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries said it expected Chinese oil demand to increase because of steady economic growth. Wood Mackenzie said much of the growth is attributed to "the near-exponential" increase in personal and commercial vehicle use.

William Durbin, the company's Beijing president of global markets research, said 70 percent of China's oil will come from imports by 2020.

He said OPEC's share of Chinese imports should increase from 52 percent to 66 percent by 2020. North American oil production, meanwhile, is such that foreign crude oil imports are at 40-year lows.

"It is important to note these opposing trends as it means the United States is becoming more North America-centric for its supply needs and China more dependent on Middle East and OPEC crude," Durbin said Tuesday. "We will therefore see OPEC suppliers, who traditionally focused on the United States for crude sales, compelled to shift their focus towards China."

Wood Mackenzie said Chinese crude oil imports should surpass those of the United States, the world's leading economy, within the next four years.

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