China has become the world's largest energy consumer having overtaken the United States, the head of the International Energy Agency said on Tuesday.
China is now the largest energy consumer by our definition, the executive director of the Paris-based IEA, Nobuo Tanaka, told an industry conference.
”Probably half of the oil demand increase comes from China. Nobody knows when it (will) slow down.”
The IEA advises 28 developed countries. China is not a part of the IEA but the agency monitors the country as its oil demand can have a significant impact on prices.
IEA said that China’s energy consumption surpassed the US by 0.4% at 2.252 billion tons of oil equivalent in 2009 whereas the US consumed 2.17 billion tons. In February, China’s National Bureau of Statistics had put the total energy consumption in the country at 2.132 billion tons of oil equivalent.
However China rejected the report saying that its National Energy Administration (NEA) and IEA deployed different techniques to calculate energy consumption leading to variations in the assessments.
Consuming half of the total energy consumption of the US in 2000, China has now become the leading energy user globally, according to IEA.
Commenting on a recent report on surge in proven oil reserves in Iraq, Tanaka said “Iraq can be a game changer. We need Iraq oil”.