The biggest increase of imports, both oil and gas, is coming from Asia, in particular China, Toril Bosoni, a senior oil market analyst with the IEA, told Xinhua at the CERAWeek by IHS Markit that kicked off on Monday in Houston in the U.S. state of Texas.
"Even the Chinese economy is slowing, the oil demand is slowing because of the environmental policy, the demand continues to grow," Bosini told Xinhua in an interview.
According to Bosoni, there is not enough of oil from the Middle East to support the growth in China and Asia, more and more of the oil flows will come from the United States and Latin America to China.
"China's already largest buyer of U.S. crude, and we think that will continue in the years to come," she said.
Bosoni had the same forecast of natural gas. "U.S. will become the biggest LNG (Liquefied Natural Gas) exporter, China will become the LNG importer. It seems that at some point they can cooperate."
According to the Chinese National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), China's imports of crude oil and natural gas jumped in 2018. Crude oil imports surged 10.1 percent year on year to 460 million tonnes, a record high, while natural gas imports came in at 90.39 million tonnes, rising 31.9 percent year on year.
CERAWeek is an annual energy meeting held by the London-based information company IHS Markit featuring prominent speakers from energy, technology and financial sectors. This year's meeting was attended by more than 4,500 guests from over 70 countries and regions.
There is a special dialogue on China as well as several discussions designed to focus on Asian and Chinese energy market since China has become one of the largest energy consumption economies in the world. Chinese industry leaders, including China National Petroleum Corporation, Sinopec and Shanghai Petroleum, will participate in the discussions.