China is increasingly reliant on oil-gas imports and the country faces severe challenges in meeting its energy demands, a report released by China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) showed Wednesday. In 2012, China's net oil imports amounted to 284 million tonnes, which means the country is 58 percent reliant on foreign supplies in this area, up 1.5 percentage points from a year earlier, according to the report by CNPC Economics and Technology Research Institute. Natural gas imports amounted to 42.8 billion cubic meters in 2012. The report said the country's dependence rates on imports of crude oil and natural gas came in at 56.6 percent and 29 percent, respectively, both representing an increase from the rate a year earlier. Qian Xingkun, deputy head of the institute, said China's growing reliance in the sector, under the context of volatile international oil prices and soaring natural gas costs, has created huge pressures on economic growth, making the country more vulnerable in energy security. The report forecast the country's oil-gas demands will continue to trend upward this year, with dependence rates on oil and gas imports reaching 59.4 percent and 32 percent, respectively. Shan Weiguo, a CNPC institute researcher, noted the key to meet the challenges is to keep searching for more and replaceable fuels through technological innovations while putting restraints on irrational consumption. In consideration of China's economic development and consumers' buying power, the country has sometimes intentionally kept prices of oil and gas lower than those on the international markets. However, given the severe energy outlook, the country has decided to let the market play a more important role in guiding consumers to be more economical with their use. Earlier this month, China's National Development and Reform Commission, the country's top economic planner, said the country will promote reforms in its energy and resource pricing system this year.