The Oxford Institute for Energy Studies published in February 2015 a study titled "China: The 'New Normal'" by Michel Meidan, Amrita Sen, and Robert Campbell. While most of the study focuses on China's evolving economy and slower growth rate, it contains a section relevant to the import of crude oil from Africa.
Between 2007 and 2014, China almost doubled its import of crude oil from all sources. Imports from Africa, however, increased only modestly from 1,003,000 b/d in 2007 to 1,342,000 b/d in 2014. In 2014, well over half of China's imports of crude from Africa came from one country: Angola. As a supplier of China's imported crude, Africa dropped from 31 percent in 2007 to 22 percent in 2014.
During the same 2007 to 2014 period, China's import of crude oil from the Middle East more than doubled and from South America more than tripled. The study concludes that a structural shift in the Chinese economy suggests slower oil demand growth than in recent years, especially after China completes its strategic petroleum reserve program.
While China's imports of crude oil continue to rise, the rate of growth is decreasing and the percentage of imports originating from Africa is declining. This could have important implications for China-Africa trade relations.