An increasing reliance on imports of oil and gas has left China vulnerable to external shocks, according to Xinhua Financial Network. China is the world's third largest oil consumer and imports about one-third of its oil needs, with around 60 per cent of imports coming from the Middle East. According to government customs figures, last year China imported 69.4m tons of crude oil, up 15.2 per cent from the year before. Xinhua reported that, although oil from Iraq only accounted for 1 per cent of its total imports, Chinese leaders were concerned that a wider war could interrupt supplies from the Middle East region.
A separate report in People's Daily said that the government had allotted US$1.7bn for the first phase of the construction of an oil reserve. The aim is to hold stocks equivalent to 90 days' imports. China is also seeking to increase its imports from other oil-producing areas such as Russia and southeast Asia.