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By the Numbers

China's energy needs, Canada's export opportunity

A growing economy and a rising middle class in China present a clear market opportunity for Canadian oil and natural gas.

#1 world energy consumer

With the world’s largest population (1.38 billion people) and average annual GDP growth rates of six to seven percent, China is the world’s biggest consumer of energy. In 2015, this consumption was the equivalent of more than 3,000 million tonnes of oil. (Source: Global Affairs Canada)

#2 largest global consumer of oil

China is the world’s second largest consumer of crude oil behind the United States. In 2016, it used 11.5 million barrels of oil a day. Of this supply, imports made up about 65 percent—or 7.5 million barrels a day. (Source: U.S. Department of Commerce)

#1 global market for automobiles

In 2015, more than 21 million passenger cars were sold in China, the world’s largest market for automobiles. (Source: Global Affairs Canada)

3rd largest global consumer of natural gas

China is the world’s third largest consumer of natural gas, which accounts for six percent of the country’s energy demand. In 2016, it used about 224 billion cubic meters of natural gas.  (Source: U.S. Department of Commerce)

Coal use dominant but decreasing

Coal remains China’s dominant fuel, making up 62 percent of the country’s energy consumption in 2016. But this share of consumption is on the decline and down from 74 percent in the mid-2000s. (Source: BP Energy Outlook, 2017)

Rising energy share for renewables, nuclear and hydro. 

The importance of renewables, nuclear and hydroelectric power is growing in China. Their combined share of China’s energy mix is expected to grow from 12 percent in 2015 to over 25 percent by 2035. However, this still leaves a vital role for oil and natural gas to meet the country's energy needs. (Source: BP Energy Outlook, 2017)

Canada’s 2nd largest single-country trading partner

China is Canada’s second-largest single-country trading partner, with two-way merchandise trade totaling $85.4 billion in 2016. (Source: Global Affairs Canada)