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PetroChina Sees Chinese Fuel Demand Rising By 3% From Pre-Covid Levels

China’s fuel demand is expected to rise by 3% in 2023 compared to the pre-Covid levels of 2019, state-owned giant PetroChina said on Thursday in an upbeat outlook on Chinese oil consumption this year.

China’s natural gas demand is also expected to increase this year by 5.5% compared to 2022 when demand was depressed due to the Covid lockdowns, PetroChina executives said during an earnings briefing, as carried by Reuters.

On Wednesday, PetroChina reported record revenues, net profit, and free cash flow for 2022. The company’s revenue rose by 23.9% annually in 2022, net profit jumped by 62.1% year-on-year, and free cash flow surged by 88.4%.

This year, PetroChina will continue to pursue big integrated new energies projects of wind, solar, and gas power generation, so as to consolidate and expand new energies business, it said.

The new energies business is expected to account for 7% of the group’s total output portfolio by 2025, the company said.

PetroChina’s upbeat outlook on China’s fuel demand this year is in line with other projections of a rebound in oil consumption after the reopening of the world’s top crude oil importer.

Both OPEC and the International Energy Agency (IEA) expect China to drive global oil demand to a record high this year.  

China’s reopening is set to add momentum to global economic growth, OPEC said in its Monthly Oil Market Report (MOMR) for March, as it revised up its forecast for Chinese oil demand growth.   

“In the emerging economies, China’s reopening, following the lifting of the strict zero-COVID-19 policy, will add considerable momentum to global economic growth,” OPEC said.

The IEA, for its part, said in its latest monthly report that the oil market is set to swing from a supply overhang in the first half of 2023 to a deficit in the latter part of the year as the economic rebound in China will push global oil demand to a record high. 

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By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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