China overtakes US as 'world's largest oil importer'
China has overtaken the US as the world's largest net importer of oil, a report has said.
US net oil imports dropped to 5.98m barrels a day in December, the lowest since February 1992, according to provisional figures from the US Energy Information Administration.
In the same month, China's net oil imports surged to 6.12m b/d, according to Chinese customs, CNN reports.
The US has been the world's largest net importer of oil since the mid-1970s.
According to the report, as China overtakes the US as the world's leading net oil importer, Beijing is likely to face pressure to take a larger role in patrolling the world's key shipping lanes.
China has already taken a more assertive foreign oil policy in countries such as Sudan, Angola and Iraq, where state-owned Chinese companies have invested billions of dollars, the report added.