China Striving to Enhance Its Energy Security : LUSENET : Grassroots Information Coordination Center (GICC) : One Thread

2000.11.05B!@2:19am Taiwan time updated

China Striving to Enhance Its Energy Security Washington, Nov. 3 (CNA) Communist China is striving to enhance its energy security due to its growing fears that the United States might be a threat to its increasing dependence on energy imports, according to a recently published report by the Rand Corporation. The renowned U.S. think tank, in a report titled "China's Quest for Energy Security," wrote that mainland China's two decades of rapid economic growth has fueled a demand for energy that now outstrips domestic sources of supply, with the country becoming a net oil importer in 1993. Moreover, China's dependence on energy imports is expected to increase significantly over the next 20 years.

It is projected that mainland China will have to import some 60 percent of its oil and at least 30 percent of its natural gas by 2020. This gap between domestic supply and demand has forced Beijing to abandon its traditional goal of energy self-sufficiency and to look abroad for energy resources.

After examining the measures that Communist China is taking to achieve energy security and the motivations behind them, the Rand Corporation came to the conclusion that Beijing's energy security activities, which are largely defensive in nature, are due to its long-standing fear of dependency on foreign energy. Beijing regards oil imports as a strategic vulnerability that could be exploited by foreign powers seeking to influence its policies.

The United States is currently the most powerful country in the world and is perceived by many in mainland China as uncomfortable with Communist China's rising power. As a result, the report noted, Beijing views the United States as the primary threat to its energy security.

"China wishes to minimize the vulnerability of its oil supply to American power. The Chinese government's keen interest in the development of Central Asian and Russian oil reserves and the construction of pipelines to transport oil from these regions to China can be explained by the desire of Chinese planners to secure an oil supply that avoids the American-controlled sea-lanes," wrote the Rand Corporation.

Similarly, Beijing's effort to increase its economic, political, and possibly military ties with oil-producing states in the Middle East are aimed at securing access to oil from a region (where the United States is the preeminent military power) that provides mainland China with the bulk of its oil imports, said the report.

The internationalization of the China National Petroleum Corporation also reflects Beijing's desire to gain a foothold in a world oil market where the leading companies belong to the United States and its allies, according to the report.

But the report also noted Communist China's international oil and gas investments are unlikely to significantly enhance its energy security through supply diversification or a reduction in the vulnerability of its oil supply to American power.

"Not only is it doubtful that many of the proposed pipelines will be built, but China's overseas oil concessions probably will not yield enough oil to come close to matching China's growth in net oil imports over the next two decades," it said.

Furthermore, the Rand Corporation wrote, "most of this oil will not physically enter China as a result of transportation and logistical costs. Instead, it will be sold on the international market or swapped for oil that would enter the Chinese market.

Consequently, China will remain reliant on American protection of the region's sea-lanes for its energy security."

-- Martin Thompson (, November 04, 2000

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