Journal of Resources and Ecology ›› 2016, Vol. 7 ›› Issue (5): 386-396.DOI: 10.5814/j.issn.1674-764x.2016.05.009

• Orginal Article • Previous Articles     Next Articles

A National Accounting Framework for the Petroleum Cycle: A Case Study of China

LIU Xiaojie, LIU Litao*, CHENG Shengkui, SHEN Lei, LU Chunxia   

  1. Institute of Geographical Sciences and Natural Resources Research, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100101, China
  • Received:2016-04-19 Online:2016-09-20 Published:2016-09-20
  • Contact: LIU Litao. E-mail:
  • Supported by:

    National Natural Science Foundation of China ( 41101116; 41271546; 41401644; 41271547; 41501430)


In a world of climate change and socio-economic development, oil is the strategic resource that is closely intertwined and interdependent. Tracing the evolution of petroleum resources flow is fundamental to understanding petroleum supply and demand, and can also serve as the basis for assessing CO2 emissions from petroleum products. This paper aims to provide a petroleum products flow accounting framework that divides petroleum flow into four phases, three flows, three libraries, and two processes, and summarizes the approach to measure and analyze petroleum resources flows. It takes China as an example for empirical research, and finds that: ① China’s petroleum production, consumption and import have significantly increased over the past two decades, and the combination of increasing demand and limited supply have created an urgent need for China to diversify its petroleum sources globally to ensure its oil security. ② Final consumption accounts for the use of most petroleum products and special attention should be paid to the losses in the petroleum refining process. ③ With the exception of crude oil, petroleum product flows among various sectors has changed greatly. Particularly, the flow of petroleum products into transport and residential consumption has trended upward significantly, whereas the flow to industry is trending downward. ④ CO2 emission data shows that CO2 emission amounts increased rapidly from 456Mt in 1993 to 1517Mt in 2013. Previously, the top three CO2 emitters were the industrial sector, the transport sector including the transport, storage and post segments, and the thermal power sector. Currently, the largest emitters are the transport sector, the industrial sector and the residential consumption sector. Finally, poorly demarcated system boundaries and incomplete databases and models constrain research on industry flows of petroleum resources for non-energy use.

Key words: China, flow framework, petroleum cycle