China's primary energy use to peak in 2035 - CNPC research

BEIJING/SINGAPORE (Reuters) -China’s total primary energy consumption is expected to peak around 2035, at 5.6 billion tonnes of standard coal equivalent, under Beijing’s recently announced carbon-neutral goal, China National Petroleum Corp’s (CNPC) research arm said on Thursday.

China, the world’s largest energy consumer and biggest emitter of climate warming greenhouse gases, has vowed to bring its total carbon emissions to a peak before 2030 and to be carbon neutral by 2060.

In its annual long-term energy outlook, the research arm of state energy firm CNPC also forecast China’s oil demand to be capped at 730 million tonnes by around 2025.

Natural gas, a key bridge fuel over the next two decades with a 2.8% per annum demand increase, will peak around 2040 at 550 billion cubic metres, CNPC said.

Consumption of coal, currently accounting for nearly 58% of China’s energy mix, will fall sharply from 2025, to 2.9 billion tonnes in 2035 and to 900 million tonnes in 2050, CNPC said.

“If China maintains the current development model, it will not be a problem to cap its carbon emission before 2030, but will be very difficult to reach carbon neutral before 2060,” said Jiang Xuefeng, vice director at CNPC’s research institute.

“China will have to change its economic and energy structure as soon as possible and as intense as possible.”

Emissions reduction by the transportation sector will hinge on replacing oil-fuelled vehicles with electric ones.

New energy vehicles (NEV), including those powered by natural gas, electricity and hydrogen, will account for over 30% of the national fleet in 2035, half in 2040 and nearly 80% in 2050.

CNPC expects China’s carbon emissions to reach a peak in 2025 and then enter a five-year plateau before starting to decline. Carbon emissions are expected to fall to around 2.4 billion tonnes in 2050 and to near zero by 2060.

Reporting by Muyu Xu in Beijing and Chen Aizhu in Singapore; Editing by Tom Hogue, Kenneth Maxwell and Raju Gopalakrishnan