By October, China's net oil imports will surpass the United States' own imports on a monthly basis, and next year, the Asian country become the world's top oil importer on a yearly basis, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration's Short-Term Energy Outlook
EIA officials attribute increased Chinese imports to an uptick in U.S. oil production — a rise of 28 percent from 2011 to 2014, officials predict — mixed with flat demand, while Chinese demand has been steadily growing. Chinese oil production is only expected to grow 6 percent by 2014 when compared to 2011 levels, which is not enough to satisfy a 13 percent increase in oil use over the same period.
"Higher U.S. oil production and stagnant or declining U.S. oil consumption, coupled with China's projected strong oil demand growth and slow oil production growth, suggest that once China replaces the United States as the world's largest net oil importer, the gap between net oil imports in China and the United States will grow," the EIA report said. - Jon Ross