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China faces shortage of 6 billion tons of oil

TOKYO, Feb 25 (KUNA) -- China, the world's second-biggest energy consumer, faces a shortage of 6 billion tons of oil and 600 million cubic meters of natural gas over the next few years, as the country has entered a phase of rapid mineral consumption amid its rapid industrialization, the official media reported Monday.
"An insufficient supply of resources has become a major bottleneck for the country's development," Wang Min, vice-minister of land and resources, told a national geological survey conference in Beijing, according to the China Daily. Given the goal of doubling the nation's gross domestic output, China is expected to consume 510 million tons of oil, 20 million cubic meters of natural gas, 3.7 billion tons of coal, 400 million tons of steel, 6.6 million tons of copper and 13 million tons of alumina by 2010, Wang noted.
"China is stepping up its efforts to further tap domestic mineral resources to meet the huge appetite of its blistering economic growth in the wake of soaring global resource prices," he added, pledging to find more than 200 new mineral bases by 2010.
According to figures from the Ministry of Land and Resources, global investment in surveying for solid mineral resources totaled USD 10.5 billion last year, a year-on-year jump of 40 percent. China discovered more than 800 new mineral bases during the past nine years, but high demand in the domestic mineral market has put a strain on mineral supplies, the vice minister said.
China used up to 2.3 billion tons of coal and 420 million tons of steel in 2006, respectively accounting for 39 percent and 33 percent of total global consumption in that year. It also consumed 3.72 million tons of copper and 8.
65 million tons of alumina in 2006, accounting for 22 percent and 26 percent of total global consumption.
The ministry also pledged to deepen international cooperation in mineral surveying and exploitation. More than 200 foreign companies have invested in mineral surveying in China, with most of their 400 projects, including surveying for oil, natural gas, coal, copper and gold mines, in the nation's vast western regions. (end) mk.ajs KUNA 251759 Feb 08NNNN