China's crude oil imports rose 13.1 percent in December from a year earlier to 26.78 million tons, or 6.33 million barrels a day (bpd), marking a record high on a daily basis, government data showed Friday.
Imports also grew 13.7 percent from November's imports of 23.56 million tons (5.76 million bpd), according to data released by the General Administration of Customs.
Crude oil imports in the whole year totaled 281.95 million tons (5.66 million bpd), up 4.0 percent from 2012.
China is expected to replace the US as the world's largest oil importer by the 2020, followed by India, as emerging economies are poised to claim most of the global energy supplies, the International Energy Agency (IEA) said late November.
China will be the main contributor to the increase in global energy use over the coming decade, and after that India will replace it as the world's biggest driving force for energy demand in the 2020s, according to a report released by the Paris-based IEA.