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China outpaces US as biggest oil importer
The U.S. Energy Information Administration reported last week that U.S. oil imports in December were the lowest since 1996 at 5.98 million barrels a day.
Meanwhile, China’s net oil imports surged to 6.12 million barrels a day during the same period.
The U.S. has been the world`s largest importer of oil since mid 70s, determining Washington to focus its foreign policy towards energy-rich countries like Saudi Arabia and Iraq.
But as China became the world`s leading oil importer the geopolitics of natural resources may be changing.
Beijing might face pressures to take a more important role in the world`s key oil shipping lanes.
China already started changing its foreign oil policy and made presence in countries such as Sudan, Angola and Iraq.
The International Energy Agency expects that emerging countries would for the first time consume more oil than industrialized nations.
Meanwhile, the United States domestic oil production is surging amid the shale revolution, which is reducing the need for crude imports.