By BENOIT FAUCON
LONDON -- China could overtake the US as the world's largest
oil importer by 2014, the Organization of the Petroleum
Exporting Countries said in a report this week, the latest
evidence of how the American shale boom is reshaping global
"With the shale boom in the [US] threatening to drastically
reduce America's oil import needs, China is expected to take
its place in the number one spot," OPEC said in a report posted
on its website.
OPEC, whose members supply more than one in three barrels of
crude consumed worldwide, said rising Chinese imports were
backed by increased throughput at the country's refineries.
The group quoted analysis saying China's oil imports could
top 6 million bbl this year, while the Washington-based Energy
Information Administration foresees net US oil imports could
fall below that level in 2014.
After initially downplaying the impact of the U.S. shale
boom, OPEC, whose members include rival producers from Africa,
the Middle East and Latin America -- is gradually accepting its
transformational role in markets.
In February, the group said demand for its members' oil in
2013 will be 100,000 bpd lower than previously forecast
because growing output from non-member countries, particularly
North American shale oil, will eat into their market share.
In a landmark report in November, the International Energy
Agency, which advises developed oil-consuming nations,
predicted the US would become the largest global oil producer
by 2020 while North America could turn into a net oil exporter
10 years later.
Dow Jones Newswires