China discovered 1.37 billion tonnes of oil reserves last year, up 20.6 percent from a year earlier, the Ministry of Land and Resources said Thursday.
It is the ninth year for the country to see new oil reserves rise by more than 1 billion tonnes since 1949, Xu Dachun, deputy head with the ministry's mineral resource reserve department said at a press conference.
Of the total, 1.17 billion tonnes, or 85.5 percent, of oil reserves were discovered in five major oil deposits located in Ordos Basin in Inner Mongolia autonomous region, Tarim Basin and Junggar Basin in Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region, as well as Bohai Bay Basin in eastern China. Each deposit was found with reserves over 100 million tonnes, Xu said.
The country has increased efforts in oil and gas exploration over past years in an effort to meet the economy's expanding energy demand and ease its reliance on imports.
Its energy consumption increased rapidly, making it a leading energy consumer in the world. Primary energy consumption went up 7 percent year-on-year to 3.48 billion tonnes of coal equivalent in 2011.
Meanwhile, official data showed its oil dependency rate has been above 50 percent since 2009.
Xu expected the dependency rate to start dropping after the economy's energy demand peaks, which many experts estimate at 2030.
The country also discovered more reserves of natural gas and coalbed methane (CBM) last year. New reserves of natural gas increased by 29.6 percent year-on-year to hit 765.95 billion cubic meters in 2011, Xu said.
Two deposits, the Sulige gasfield in Inner Mongolia and the Yuanba gasfield in Sichuan province, were found with natural gas reserves over 100 billion cubic meters.
In addition, a total of 142.17 billion cubic meters of CMB reserves were detected last year, up 27.5 percent from the previous year, taking the country's total proven CMB reserves to 415.57 billion cubic meters as of the end of 2011.
CBM is a type of natural gas that can be extracted from coal beds.