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China's oil production increases

Chinese data from Tuesday show crude oil production in 2014 increased nearly a full percentage point, staying above a threshold rate for five straight years.

The Ministry of Land Resources reported total crude oil output increased 0.7 percent from 2013 to 1.53 billion barrels for full-year 2014. Data show it's the fifth-straight year full-year output has stayed above the 1.5 billion barrel mark.

Seven major oil fields contributed to the increase last year, with new facilities adding 73 million barrels for the full year. Natural gas production, meanwhile, increased 10.7 percent to 4.6 trillion cubic feet, with about 10 percent of that coming from shale reserves.

China has the most technically recoverable shale natural gas reserves and the third highest shale oil reserves in the world, though complex geology makes it difficult for the country to replicate the shale success from the United States.

China is a leading energy consumer. Gross domestic product expansion of 7.3 percent year-on-year is among the fastest in the world, but third quarter 2014 performance for the country was the weakest since 2009.

The steady decline in oil prices is a de facto stimulus for the Chinese economy, which relies on imports to meet about 58 percent of its oil needs.

Last week, Wang Tao, a China economist for UBS, said the low price of oil could result in a cut of about $17 billion from China's import bill.

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