(EnergyAsia, February 29, Wednesday) — China’s Ministry of Land and Resources said the upstream hydrocarbon industry substantially boosted its oil and natural gas discoveries in 2011 to record its second most successful year since the country’s founding in 1949.

It found 1.37 billion tonnes of proven oil reserves, up 20.6% compared with 2010, and 765.95 billion cubic metres (bcm) of natural gas for an increase of 29.6%, said Xu Dachun, deputy head of the ministry’s mineral resources reserve department.

More than 85.5% of that was found in five major deposits in in Ordos Basin in Inner Mongolia, Tarim Basin and Junggar Basin in Xinjiang Uygur, and the offshore Bohai Bay Basin.

According to the ministry’s website at www.mlr.gov.cn, the industry uncovered 266 million tonnes of technically recoverable oil reserves, up 21.4% from 2010, and about 30% higher than the country’s domestic crude oil output of 203.65 million tonnes in 2011. This means China more than replenished its domestic oil production last year.

Of last year’s natural gas discovery, the ministry said 395.67 bcm was technically recoverable, an improvement of 37.65 over 2010.

It is not known if the ministry uses the same standard of measurement to define oil and gas reserves as in the West.

Despite the high replacement rate, China expects to increase its dependence on imports to meet its energy demand. Today, it relies on import for more than 55% of oil supplies.