China passed the United States to become the world’s leading importer of crude oil last year, Axios reports.
The switch came after a decade of increasing domestic production in the U.S., while China’s energy demands skyrocketed without much oil and gas infrastructure to meet demand.
Since 2004, Chinese imports of crude oil have increased from about 2.5 million barrels a day to 8.5 million. In the same amount of time, U.S. crude oil imports declined from 10 million barrels per day to about 8 million, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.
China has been ditching some domestic oil production in more expensive oil and gas fields, focusing on low-cost areas instead. Combined with its increasing appetite for crude oil, the country is relying more and more heavily on foreign imports, and is projected to be importing 80 percent of its oil in 2030.
This winter, Chinese oil imports have been especially high as millions of people rely on fossil fuel energy to heat their homes.
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