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China first assessed its strategic oil reserves

China has presented for the first time an official assessment of its strategic oil reserves. This comes after Chinese President Xi Jinping pledged at the GXNUMX summit in Australia last weekend that China would regularly publish information on oil reserves.

The National Bureau of Statistics of China on Thursday reported that the first stage of the formation of strategic oil reserves has been completed and in four repositories there is 12,43 million tons of oil, or about 91 million barrels. These figures correspond to unofficial estimates, which a few years ago gave the main market regulator of China, but somewhat lower than many Western analysts assumed.

This amount of oil should be enough for consumption for nine days, while the International Energy Agency (IEA) recommends making stocks equal to imports for 90 days. But for this, according to Energy Aspects, the country needs to increase its strategic reserves to 540-600 million barrels. Now China imports about 60% of consumed oil.

China did not assess the second and third stages of the national plan for the creation of strategic reserves. Some of the oil tanks included in them are already ready and are being filled, while others are still being built. According to Petrol Argus, the country's total oil reserves reach 150 million barrels in seven ready-made strategic storage facilities. Energy Aspects estimates China's reserves of 87 million barrels, and by the end of the year they may increase by 20 million.

Assessing China's strategic oil reserves was difficult because of the state oil giants CNPC and Sinopec, which have their own commercial reserves. Representatives of these companies and officials for a long time insisted that if China reveals information about the reserves of the country, then it will have to buy oil more expensive. China's purchases for strategic reserves are small compared to the commercial sector, Tom Reed recently reported from Petroleum Argus, estimating the reserves of the latter at about 260 million barrels.

But the fall in oil prices this fall could provide China with the opportunity to replenish its strategic reserves more systematically than in the past. Also, transparency in this matter will make it possible to create an Asian Energy Security Agency, modeled on the IEA, which stands guard over the interests of developed countries; similar ideas have recently been expressed in Beijing. It can unite the main consumers of oil in Asia, who, like China, are not members of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development and therefore cannot be members of the IEA. The OECD includes only seven countries outside Europe and North America: Israel, Turkey, Chile, Japan, Korea, Australia and New Zealand.

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