China's diesel demand has peaked, gasoline to peak 2025: CNPC research

BEIJING (Reuters) - China’s diesel demand has peaked and gasoline will peak in 2025, while natural gas demand will increase over the next two decades to feed a massive gasification campaign, according to a forecast released on Tuesday by a research arm on a state energy group.

The research unit of China National Petroleum Corp (CNPC) [CNPET.UL] also said that China’s total oil demand will top out at around 690 million tonnes a year, or 13.8 million barrels per day (bpd), by 2030.

China, the world’s top crude oil importer, will maintain annual crude oil production of 200 million tonnes, or about 4 million barrels per day, before 2030, CNPC said.

Demand for diesel is waning amid moderating economic growth and tighter environmental scrutiny, while gasoline demand is capped by slowing growth in private car sales and the rise of electric and natural gas-fuelled vehicles.

One of the government’s recent plans is to replace a million heavy-duty diesel trucks, almost 20 percent of the national fleet, with ones that burn cleaner fuels such as natural gas and lower-sulphur diesel, as Beijing ramps up its war on pollution.

This would be a blow to China’s oil refineries, as diesel is a main contributor to its fuel sales revenue.

As additions to China’s refining capacity outpace the nation’s fuel demand growth, more than 50 million tonnes of surplus fuel is forecast for 2050, CNPC said.

The country’s natural gas demand will reach 620 billion cubic metres (bcm) by 2035, CNPC also said. That represents 160 percent growth from the consumption level for 2017.

Domestic gas production is expected to reach 300 bcm by 2035, the forecast said, more than doubling the 147 bcm produced last year.

China’s campaign to clear its skies has increased demand for the fuel and will keep it reliant on imports of liquefied natural gas (LNG) and piped gas.

Demand for the cleaner-burning fuel has risen nearly 17 percent in the first half of the year.

CNPC also brought forward the timeline for peak total energy demand for the world’s second-largest economy to 2035, from a previous forecast of 2040.

Reporting by Meng Meng and Chen Aizhu; Editing by Tom Hogue