Jan 17, 2020 09:02 PM

Chinese Oil Production Grows for First Time in Four Years

Liquid natural gas output reached a record 173.6 billion cubic meters in 2019, increasing 9.8% from the previous year.
Liquid natural gas output reached a record 173.6 billion cubic meters in 2019, increasing 9.8% from the previous year.

China produced more crude oil last year than in 2018, marking the first year-on-year growth in domestic production since 2015, data released on Friday by the National Bureau of Statistics show.

Overall, the country’s domestic production of fossil fuels fluctuated slightly over the course of 2019 (link in Chinese), while imports increased steadily over the year.

Domestic oil output grew 0.8% to 190 million tons in 2019, the first annual increase since it peaked in 2015 at 214.55 million. Production for December was down 1.9% to 16.06 million tons, or 518,000 barrels per day.

In the final month of the year, crude oil imports grew 3.9% year-on-year to 45.48 million tons, with full year imports totaling 510 million tons, up 9.5% on 2018 figures.


Crude oil throughput rose 13.6% year-on-year in December to 58.51 million tons, pushing the total amount of oil processed for the year to a record 650 million tons, up 7.6% from 2018. This was helped by a series of Sino-Saudi joint ventures in petroleum refining, storage and sales, including two new privately-owned refinery and petrochemical projects with a combined output capacity of 60 million tons.

Friday’s data show China’s coal production in December rose by 2.4% compared with the same time a year before to 330 million tons, and the total volume for 2019 was 3.75 billion tons, up 4.2% from 2018.

Imports of the combustible black rock fell in December by 72.9% year-on-year to 2.77 million tons, but the full year’s imports rose 6.3% to 300 million tons.

China produced 16 billion cubic meters (565 billion cubic feet) of natural gas in December with daily output of 520 million cubic meters, up 7.5% compared with the same period in 2018. Output for the year reached a record 173.6 billion cubic meters, increasing 9.8% from the previous year.

Imports of natural gas rose 3.1% year-on-year to 9.51 million tons in December, bringing the full year volume to 96.56 million tons, up 6.9%. Gas began to flow that month through the first part of a pipeline connecting the gas fields of Siberia to eastern China, in a project which by 2024 is expected to carry some 38 billion cubic meters of the fossil fuel as far as Shanghai each year.

Contact reporter Lu Yutong ( and editor Flynn Murphy (

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