SINGAPORE, Nov 15 (Reuters): China expects to raise crude oil imports from Saudi Arabia by about 14 per cent next year as the world's No.2 oil consumer seeks to fill a growing domestic shortage via term supply, Beijing-based sources said Tuesday.
The 2006 volume is forecast to hit a record 500,000 barrels per day (bpd), up from this year's 440,000 bpd. This will keep Saudi Arabia, the world's No. 1 oil producer, as China's largest crude supplier.
Top lifter Sinopec Corp., Asia's largest refiner, is slated to conclude talks with state-owned Saudi Aramco soon, sources said. China now imports roughly 43 per cent of its crude oil needs.