China: The world's biggest energy consumer and producer

It may not come as much of a surprise but China is the biggest consumer and producer of energy in the world. It has been since 2010.

Just to put it into perspective, here are some facts from the US Energy Information Administration (EIA):

  • China's oil consumption growth accounted for one-third of the world's oil consumption growth in 2013.
  • The country is the world's top coal consumer, producer, and importer and accounts for about half of global coal consumption.
  • China is expected to move from the second-largest net importer of oil to the largest in 2014;¬†in fact, during the last quarter of 2013, China was the biggest net importer of oil.
  • The Asian giant is the fourth largest oil and liquids producer in the world and none of its production is exported because output can't keep up with domestic demand.

The EIA recently released its forecasts for the Chinese oil sector and their chart shows an ever-widening rift between China's consumption and production of the fuel source. The EIA predicts that China's oil consumption will reach nearly 12 million barrels per day by 2015, up from close to 11 million today.

China's oil production and consumption

"Also, natural gas demand seems to be growing tremendously, and this is in part a response to replacing some coal use as energy demand grows in general," a China export from the EIA told in an email.

The country produced an estimated 4.5 million barrels per day of total oil liquids in 2013 and the EIA expects this figure to rise to about 4.6 million barrels per day by the end of 2014. But that won't be nearly enough: In 2013 China consumed an estimated 10.7 million barrels of oil per day and is predicted to consumer about 11.1 million in 2014.

Oil, gas and other sources are expected to play an increasingly larger role in China's energy mix as the country strives to reduce its dependence on coal – although whether or not the People's Republic is serious about this goal is a matter of debate. Along with its other first-place rankings, China also holds the title of the world's biggest energy-related CO2 emitter.

Read the EIA's full China analysis here