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China Plans to Start Filling Strategic Oil Reserve in 2006

Jan. 6 (Bloomberg) -- China, the world's second-biggest oil consumer after the U.S., plans to start filling a government- controlled strategic oil reserve next year, a Chinese official said.

It's ``too early to say exactly when'' in 2006 the fill will start, Zhang Xiaoqiang, vice chairman of China's National Development and Reform Commission, said in an interview in New Delhi.

China wants bigger inventories to secure energy needs as it becomes more reliant on imports to maintain the world's fastest- growing major economy. The government plans to boost emergency stockpiles to 90 days worth of demand by 2010, officials at state oil companies have said. For now, Chinese companies typically hold up to 30 days worth, or less.

The country's oil imports in 2004 may exceed 130 million metric tons, Xiaoqiang said earlier today, while attending a meeting of buyers and sellers, including Middle East producers Saudi Arabia and Iran.

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