China, the world's second-biggest oil consumer after the United States, has begun operation on its first strategic oil reserves, according to state media reports. The base, located in Ningbo, Zhejiang province, is the first of four such facilities to be constructed in the country. The other three reserves will be located in Daishan, Zhejiang; Huangdao, Shandong province; and Dalian, Liaoning province. Progress reports on the completion of the bases have not yet been released. China imported 145.18 million tons of crude oil last year, making it the world's third-largest oil importer after the US and Japan. The nation's coal reserve was 144 million tons by the end of last year.