China's Quest for Energy Security

China's Quest for Energy Security

Copyright Date: 2006
Edition: 1
Published by: RAND Corporation
Pages: 82
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  • Book Info
    China's Quest for Energy Security
    Book Description:

    China's two decades of rapid economic growth have fueled a demand for energy that has outstripped domestic sources of supply. China became a net oil importer in 1993, and the country's dependence on energy imports is expected to continue to grow over the next 20 years, when it is likely to import some 60 percent of its oil and at least 30 percent of its natural gas. China thus is having to abandon its traditional goal of energyself-sufficiency--brought about by a fear of strategic vulnerability--and look abroad for resources. This study looks at the measures that China is taking to achieve energy security and the motivations behind those measures. It considers China's investment in overseas oil exploration and development projects, interest in transnational oil pipelines, plans for a strategic petroleum reserve, expansion of refineries to process crude supplies from the Middle East, development of the natural gas industry, and gradual opening of onshore drilling areas to foreign oil companies. The author concludes that these activities are designed, in part, to reduce the vulnerability of China's energy supply to U.S. power. China's international oil and gas investments, however, are unlikely to bring China theenergy security it desires. China is likely to remain reliant on U.S. protection of the sea-lanes that bring the country most of its energy imports.

    eISBN: 978-0-8330-4832-5
    Subjects: Political Science

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-ii)
    (pp. iii-iv)
  3. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
    (pp. vii-viii)
    (pp. ix-x)
    (pp. xi-xii)
    (pp. xiii-xiv)
  8. Chapter One INTRODUCTION
    (pp. 1-2)

    Because 20 years of economic growth have brought China an increase in energy demand that has outstripped domestic sources of supply, the nation became a net oil importer in 1993, and its dependence on energy imports is expected to grow over the next two decades. Some analysts estimate that China will need to import some 60 percent of its oil and at least 30 percent of its natural gas by 2020. The gap between domestic supply and demand has meant that the Chinese government must look abroad for energy resources, abandoning its traditional goal of energy self-sufficiency. China’s increasing energy...

    (pp. 3-10)

    Concerns about China’s energy security are rooted in projections of the country’s future energy demand and supply. China’s consumption of energy is projected to rise dramatically over the next two decades. Rapid economic growth has resulted in a rising demand for energy resources, particularly oil and gas. Prospects for increased domestic production, however, appear to be more limited. The widening gap between consumption and production means that China will become increasingly dependent on imports to satisfy its growing oil and gas requirements.

    China’s spectacular economic growth is largely responsible for its rising energy demand, and projections assume that fairly rapid...

    (pp. 11-42)

    China’s growing dependency on foreign energy is both a theoretical and a practical challenge for China’s energy planners. From a theoretical perspective, reliance on imported oil arguably violates the Maoist doctrine of self-reliance (zili gengsheng), the guiding principle for economic development in the 1960s and 1970s. Self-reliance does not mean “total independence,” but rather refers to the ability to “keep the initiative in one’s own hands.”¹ Applied to the energy sector, self-reliance implies ultimate control by the government over the domestic energy system.²

    Self-reliance in oil became the primary objective of energy policy after the Sino-Soviet split in 1960 and...

    (pp. 43-52)

    The Chinese government’s fear of dependence on foreign oil lies behind its energy security activities. The government’s unease with its status as a net oil importer has its origins in China’s unhappy experience with Soviet participation in China’s oil sector in the 1950s and China’s use of its oil exports to Japan to influence Japanese foreign policy in the 1970s. As mentioned earlier, Soviet advisers had a major impact on the development of China’s oil industry in the 1950s. Their departure following the Sino-Soviet split in 1960 created severe energy shortages and left China dependent on the Soviet Union, its...

  12. Chapter Five CONCLUSION
    (pp. 53-54)

    China’s energy security activities are a response to the country’s growing need for foreign sources of energy. China’s recent shift from a net oil exporter to a net oil importer is a matter of great concern to the Chinese leadership, who regard oil imports as a strategic vulnerability that could be exploited by foreign powers. The United States is currently the most powerful country in the world and is perceived by many in China as uncomfortable with China’s rising power. As a result, the Chinese government views the United States as the primary threat to China’s energy security. China’s energy...

    (pp. 55-68)