Little growth in oil output

Beijing, November 29:

China’s oil output has seen nearly flat growth this year, failing to keep up with the country’s booming economy and forcing it to rely on coal and imported crude instead, official data suggested today.

Domestic crude output totaled 153.4 million tonnes in the first 10 months, up a mere 1.5 per cent from the same period last year, the state-run Xinhua news agency reported, citing the National Development and Reform Commission.

“China’s economic growth has the dubious distinction of being one of the most energy-intensive economic booms the world has ever seen,” said David Ernsberger, the Asian director for the energy news publication Platts. “The bottom line is it is almost tapped out on all its known oil sources and is now producing as much as it can every day but cannot expand production anymore.”

China grew by 10.7 per cent in the nine months to September, running along at breakneck speed despite government efforts to put growth on a more sustainable track and making secure energy supplies a key issue.

Domestic oil production has not been keeping pace and data published by the official Xinhua news agency suggested China attempted to fill the gap by producing more coal, an energy source otherwise blamed for pollution on an epic scale.

Coal production topped 1.67 billion tonnes in the first 10 months of the year, up by 12.2 per cent.

Coal was also a key factor behind China’s achievement in generating 2.25 trillion KW-hours during the first 10 months to October, outpacing production during the same period last year by 13 per cent.

US team in Beijing

WASHINGTON: A high-powered delegation of US economic leaders visits China next month to launch talks that Washington hopes will ease simmering frictions between the trading giants. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson and Federal Reserve chief Ben Bernanke will head the party for the inaugural meeting of the new ‘strategic economic dialogue’ with China, in Beijing December 14-15. — AFP