The report also reveals that rising demand may not be enough to pull some parts of the country’s struggling refining industry out of trouble, and international market participants hoping that Chinese demand will rescue falling oil prices are likely to be disappointed.

The authoritative ICIS China Petroleum Annual Report forecasts that 2015 will see a jump in China’s oil demand growth to 4.1% over the next 12 months, a major leap upwards from 2014’s 1.1% growth. Surging imports of petrochemicals feedstocks naphtha and liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) look set to be the primary drivers of this growth, however, with demand for automotive and industrial fuels still in the doldrums. ICIS forecasts that the exports of gasoil will continue to grow, as China shifts its development focus to urbanisation (avoiding, for now, the use of diesel cars) and the country’s service industries.

ICIS China is the largest energy and petrochemicals market analyst business in China – a part of the global ICIS business, and a division of UK-based Reed Elsevier. With a vast array of data and information at its disposal, the company’s newly launched ICIS China Petroleum Annual Report is the go-to reference work for Chinese market participants both in and outside the country.

2015 will also see strong growth in Chinese crude oil imports, ICIS predicts in the newly-published report, with net imports up by 7% for the year The jump, however, is being driven in large measure by a need to fill strategic stocks, and does not reflect underlying actual demand growth. Opportunistically, as international prices fell in late 2014, China has already begun buying large quantities of crude, and will likely complete its Strategic Reserve programme ahead of schedule.