Libmonster ID: UK-1328
Author(s) of the publication: E. N. PETELIN


Post-graduate student Institute of the Far East of the Russian Academy of Sciences

Keywords: China's foreign policy, energy security, international climate change regime

China's emergence as a global power is taking place in many areas of the global economy and politics.

This is most evident in the energy sector, where China's position is determined by the fact that it belongs to countries that consume energy resources (in the energy sector, the interests of three groups of states can be distinguished: countries that are net importers, countries that are net exporters, and countries that transit energy resources through their territory).

Since 2010, China has been the world's largest consumer of primary energy. In 2012, China's primary energy consumption was 2.7 billion cubic meters. t in oil equivalent, i.e. 21.9% of world consumption. Consumption increased by 7.4% compared to 2011 [1]. In 2013, China became the largest oil importer, surpassing the United States, which has dominated this indicator since the 1970s [2]. At the same time, criticism from the international community continues to be caused by the fact that China is the world's largest emitter of carbon dioxide, which is also due to the peculiarities of the country's energy balance.

How should an emerging market economy act in the face of a shortage of energy resources and technologies in order to maintain stable economic growth and a positive international image? The analysis of geopolitical and geo-economic aspects of the current energy policy of the People's Republic of China allows us to answer this question.


The change of the top party and state leadership of the PRC in late 2002 - early 2003 coincided with the aggravation of internal problems of ensuring energy security in the country.

First, China is facing a sharp energy shortage. In the 2000s, oil production in the country did not increase significantly, and consumption was constantly growing, and it was in 2003-2004 that there was a sharp jump in consumption (see figure 1).

Secondly, the country has become dissatisfied with the deterioration of the environmental situation, which negatively affects not only the health of the population, but also economic growth. The main source of air pollution in China is products generated by the combustion of coal, which traditionally dominates the country's energy balance. Despite the decline in the share of coal from other sources since 1990, the share of this resource remained virtually unchanged in the 2000s, at an average of 68% (see figure 2).

The deterioration of the environmental situation has become one of the main problems of the Chinese economy's growth. In 2006, China published the "Green Account Research Report 2004" [3]. According to estimates, the damage caused by environmental pollution in China in 2004 amounted to $ 511.8 billion. RMB, i.e. 3.05% of GDP, and the GDP pollution adjustment indicator* is 1.8% [4]. According to Wang Jinnan, Vice President of the Chinese Academy of Environmental Planning, pollution control will require 1.75 trillion yuan ($290 billion) in 2013-2017 [5].

Third, in the early 2000s, the consequences of the low technological level of the Chinese energy industry intensified. First of all, we are talking about the lack of energy efficiency of Chinese industrial enterprises and power plants, which contributes to excessive energy consumption. China also experienced a shortage of technologies for monitoring, assessing and eliminating carbon dioxide, new generation nuclear technologies, wind power, etc.

* GDP adjustment for pollution - the ratio of conditional expenditures on environmental pollution prevention and GDP volume.

page 9

Chart 1. Oil production and consumption in China in 1999-2012, mln tons

Source: BP Statistical Review of World Energy, June 2013.

Figure 2. Structure of energy consumption in China in 2012, million tons of oil equivalent.

Source: BP Statistical Review of World Energy, June 2013.

Internal development problems were accompanied by external challenges to China's energy security: low diversification of sources of energy imports and high competition in the market; vulnerability of maritime communications (primarily in the area of the Straits of Hormuz, Malacca and Taiwan); low level of development of the navy; territorial disputes over areas rich in energy resources.

As a consequence of the worsening energy security problems, the" fourth generation " of Chinese leaders, led by President Hu Jintao, needed to thoroughly review the country's energy policy as part of the overall course of socio-economic development. A significant emphasis of the new policy was placed on the environmental aspects of energy, as well as on enhancing international cooperation, since it was not possible to solve these problems without interaction with other countries [6].

The" fifth generation " of Chinese leaders, led by Xi Jinping, also emphasizes the importance of energy, environmental issues and climate change. The 3rd Plenum of the CPC Central Committee of the 18th convocation in November 2013 noted the priority of developing an "ecological civilization" in China, which implies improving the mechanisms of energy conservation and land use, reforming the management system in the field of environmental protection, as well as establishing a structure of relevant institutions [7].

page 10

At the same time, the new management is very moderate in its approach to promises. In particular, in September 2013, the "Air Pollution Prevention Action Plan" was published, which provides for reducing the share of coal in the country's energy balance to 65% by 2017. (today - 68%) by attracting external electricity supplies, increasing the share of natural gas and renewable energy sources [8].

In addition, the Plan prescribes the refusal to build new coal-fired power plants and that the installed capacity of existing coal-fired power plants should be at least 300 thousand tons. kW. At the same time, according to the Chinese White Paper on Combating Climate Change 2012, the share of such power plants in 2011 was 74.4% [9]. Thus, both points of the new Plan seem very realistic. Nevertheless, it is important for the new leadership to emphasize its commitment to the "concept of scientific development", in particular, the formation of a low-carbon economy in the country.


Traditionally, researchers have identified two main areas of China's foreign policy: diplomacy in relation to major powers - the United States and the European Union, and policy in relations with the countries of neighboring regions-North-East (NEA), South-East (SE) and Central Asia (CA). During the reign of the "fourth generation" of leaders, the third component of the country's foreign policy appears - energy diplomacy, the purpose of which is to provide the country's modernization program with energy technologies and natural resources [10].

The priority of China's regional energy policy has become the countries of neighboring regions rich in energy resources-the states of Southeast Asia and Central Asia, as well as Russia and Australia. This policy is determined by a complex of cultural, historical and economic ties, significant reserves of energy resources, the possibility of their overland transportation, and China's need for a stable and peaceful environment. A key role is played by the close relationship of neighboring regions with the development of Chinese provinces that directly border individual countries: cooperation with Southeast Asia contributes to the development of southern and southwestern territories, relations with Central Asian countries contribute to the development of western provinces (in particular, the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region), and cooperation with Russia-the north - eastern provinces (Heilongjiang).

China's energy policy in neighboring regions is based, on the one hand, on foreign policy cooperation and strategic partnership with each country separately, and on the other-on a pragmatic approach in the form of direct investment in the economies of countries and the provision of long-term loans. Thus, China creates the most favorable conditions for the activities of its state-owned companies and the implementation of profitable energy projects.

China used the lack of integration activity in Central Asia to its advantage, initiating the creation of a new structure with its significant participation - the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO). At the same time, for example, in Southeast Asia, China had to establish a dialogue with the already existing association - ASEAN, which implies the need to take into account the formed strategic interests of its participants. In addition, the Central Asian countries are competing with Russia to sell their energy resources to China: oil - from Kazakhstan, gas - from Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan. This competitive environment allows China to adjust terms and prices in its favor.

The second area of Beijing's regional energy diplomacy is expanding access to energy resources in Africa and Latin America, as well as maintaining a significant share of supplies from the Middle East. There are three main aspects of China's promotion of its long-term energy interests in these regions: strengthening its diplomatic presence at the multilateral and bilateral levels, using methods of ensuring political loyalty and investment incentives; introducing Chinese oil and gas corporations to the energy markets of the regions; attracting foreign investment (primarily in the Middle East) in the processing industry and trade the sector of the PRC itself.

The third direction is China's cooperation with developed countries (the United States, the EU, and Japan), which is aimed at solving problems of energy efficiency, energy conservation, the search for clean coal technology (primarily carbon dioxide capture and storage), and the development of renewable energy sources in China. The development of this direction began only in the mid-2000s due to the awareness of the need for technological cooperation between China and developed countries in the energy sector for the country's sustainable development. If the previous directions of energy diplomacy are related to meeting the current needs of the Chinese economy, then this direction is strategically important for long-term development.


At the 17th CPC Congress in 2007, the "fourth generation" of leaders put new emphasis on the country's foreign policy. Among them, it is important to highlight the task of increasing the competitiveness of the Chinese economy and readiness for global cooperation in ensuring global and regional environmental, energy, financial and economic security, in the fight against terrorism and other threats [11].

Increasing the competitiveness of the economy required China to step up its participation in regional integration and regional free trade zones, strengthen the position of Chinese multinational corporations in the global economy, promote Chinese brands in the global market, and strengthen control over the activities of foreign capital in national financial markets. With regard to energy policy, a new foreign policy focus has been seen in strengthening the positions of China and Chinese companies in global and regional energy markets.

Since 1997, there has been a strategy of "going outside", which has three main goals: to support the Chinese economy

page 11

Table 1

Rating of the world's largest companies in 2012



A country

Revenue, $ million

Profit, $ mln


Royal Dutch Shell










Wal-Mart Stores





British Petroleum

Great Britain














State Grid















Toyota Motors




Источник; Global 500. Full List, 2013 // Fortune Magazine -

In addition, the Chinese government is also responsible for the creation of a number of highly scarce energy and raw materials; the creation of several dozen of its own multinational companies that are competitive on the world stage; and the acquisition of well-known brands through "mergers and acquisitions" in order to further increase Chinese exports [12]. At the same time, one of the main tasks of the Chinese leadership was to restructure state-owned oil and gas enterprises in order to increase their competitiveness at home and abroad. There was a need to create "socialist transnational corporations" [13]. The Chinese government has taken measures to restructure and internationalize state-owned oil companies.

There is also an urgent need to improve corporate competitiveness following China's accession to the World Trade Organization (WTO) in December 2001. This was preceded by lengthy negotiations between China and the United States and the EU, where Beijing had to prove that the country is doing a lot to open its economy to international competition.

It is difficult for Chinese companies to compete with Western capital in the global oil and gas markets that they have already mastered. Therefore, first of all, they have to occupy those niches from which Western companies have left for political or security reasons. So, in March 2009, the United States extended the sanctions imposed in 1995, which prohibit American companies from contributing to the development of the Iranian oil industry, and impose restrictions on trade and investment in Iran [14]. China has been steadily developing energy cooperation with Iran since 2004. Cooperation includes agreements on mutual understanding in the energy sector (2004), on mutual investment support (2005), on investments in the construction of a gas condensate plant (2005) , a project to explore an oil field in the Kudasht region, contracts for geological exploration at the Garmear and Zavare-Kashan oil and gas fields (2006development of the Yadavaran oil and gas field (2007), exploration and development of the North Azadegan field (2009), China's purchase of LNG from the South Pars field, etc.

China uses the investment incentive method to quickly enter and gain a foothold in the new market. In Central Asian, African and Latin American countries, China makes significant investments, usually in the oil and gas sector, communications and communications, and the transport industry. Some researchers believe that China is forced to supply weapons to friendly regimes in exchange for oil purchased from them [15]. Moreover, there are concerns that China may supply nuclear missile technology to the Middle East in order to guarantee uninterrupted oil supplies from this region [16].

The restructuring and internationalization of China's oil corporations, the country's accession to the WTO, and the creation of favorable political conditions for the activities of Chinese oil concerns abroad helped to increase their competitiveness and profit. So, in 2012, according to the rating of Fortune magazine (see Table. 1), three Chinese energy corporations were among the top ten largest companies in the world: Sinopec ranked 5th with an income of $375.214 million, CNPC-6th with an income of $352.338 million, State Grid-7th with an income of $259.142 million.

By the end of the 2000s, there was a situation at Energeticheskiy Olimp where a group of non-Western, state-owned or semi-state oil and gas corporations came to the fore [17]. The new" seven sisters " * also include CNPC. The new "seven" companies control almost a third of the world's oil and gas production and more than a third of their reserves, while the "old sisters" produce about 10% of oil and gas and own no more than 3% of the world's hydrocarbon reserves [18].

As a result of China's active involvement in global and regional energy markets, in 2012 China accounted for 11.7 % of global oil consumption (484 million tons) and 4.3% of global natural gas consumption (143.8 billion cubic meters). m), 50.2% of global coal consumption (1873.3 million tons of oil equivalent) [19]. China's integration into the global energy system has contributed to an increase in global demand and, consequently, an increase in energy prices.

* In the 1970s, experts used the term "seven sisters" to refer to Exxon Corporation, Mobil Corporation, Royal Dutch/Shell, Chevron, Texaco Incorporated, Gulf Oil Corporation, and BP.

page 12

Table 2

Global Energy Policy Institutions and China


Main goals and objectives

China's participation

UN institutions: UNCTAD, UNIDO, UNEP, ECOSOC, ECE, etc.

Discussion of a wide range of global and regional issues related to the global energy sector (socio-economic, environmental, etc. aspects)

Permanent Member of the UN Security Council, active participant in energy projects

World Energy Council (WEC)

Discussion of socio-economic, technical, and environmental aspects of global energy development

Is a member. Takes an active part

World Petroleum Council

Development of scientific and technological innovations in the oil industry, study of economic, financial, managerial, environmental and social aspects of the development of the global oil industry

Is a member. Takes an active part

International Energy Agency (IEA)

Protection of the collective interests of industrially developed consumer countries, most of which are net importers

Not a member. Cooperation program since 2001

Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC)

Protecting the collective economic interests of oil-exporting countries

Not a member. Energy Dialogue since 2005

Independent Oil Exporters Group (IPEC)

Protecting the collective economic interests of non-OPEC oil exporting countries

Not a member. Bilateral cooperation with individual countries

Gas Exporting Countries Forum (GECF)

Developing a dialogue between gas producers and consumers, governments and industries related to the gas industry

Not a member


The willingness of the People's Republic of China to cooperate globally in ensuring global and regional environmental, energy, financial and economic security as a new emphasis of the foreign policy course adopted at the 17th CPC Congress in 2007 was fully manifested in energy policy and related policies in the field of global climate change.

During the 2000s, the PRC became one of the main driving forces or active participants in most global and regional forums and organizations whose agenda includes energy issues (Group of Eight, Group of 77, BRICS, APEC, SCO, ASEAN+3, ASEAN+1). The main tasks that the PRC sees in global cooperation are:: improving the system of collective energy security, protecting maritime communications, and countering global climate change.

China has increased its participation in a variety of governmental and non-governmental organizations specializing in energy issues (see Table 2).

In the universal energy organizations that take into account the interests of both consumers and producers of energy resources, China is not just a member, but also an active participant (specialized UN institutions, the World Energy Council, the World Petroleum Council). Participation in these structures helps China not only to establish energy cooperation with other participants, but also to adjust its own energy strategy.

Thus, in October 2011, Beijing hosted the International Energy Forum "Adjusting the Energy Structure and Strategic Choice", organized by the Advisory Commission of the State Council of the People's Republic of China and the Chinese National Committees of the World Petroleum Council and the World Energy Council. On the sidelines of the forum, issues related to the safety and prospects of nuclear energy, the role of natural gas in changing the structure of the global energy system, as well as the problems and opportunities of renewable energy sources were discussed [20].

China is not a member of the International Energy Agency ( IEA), an organization of energy-consuming countries, but in 2001 a program of cooperation between China and the IEA in the field of oil and energy security was launched [21]. In addition, the IEA has a Global Energy Dialogue program, which includes China.

China is directly interested in stability in the global energy market, so it is important for it to establish a dialogue with producing countries, primarily within the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC). In 2005, OPEC and China agreed on the creation of

page 13

a regular consultation mechanism called "Energy Dialogue". The goal of the "Energy Dialogue" is "to provide a balanced and pragmatic environment for cooperation and to develop a constant exchange of views at all levels on energy issues of mutual interest, in particular, to ensure a balance between supply and demand in order to maintain market stability" [22]. The development of the dialogue between China and OPEC member countries is designed to reveal both possible differences in the field of oil and gas supplies, and the potential of the most attractive areas of cooperation.

The case of China's cooperation with one of the OPEC countries, Ecuador, is indicative. In 2008 Ecuador defaulted on $3.2 billion in bonds, thereby losing access to the global lending market. Since then, the country has received a significant portion of the funds in the form of loans from China. For the first time in 2009, $1 billion in funding was provided. It was proposed by the Chinese company PetroChina to the Ecuadorian corporation PetroEquador. By April 2010, Chinese companies accounted for a third of Ecuador's total oil exports. As a result, in November 2013, in exchange for covering 61% of the country's $6.2 billion financial needs in 2013, China gained control of 90% of the country's oil exports. The total amount of debt today is about $9 billion, which is approximately equal to 11% of Ecuador's GDP [23]. It is noteworthy that only a small part of the exported oil goes to China, mostly it is sold on the world market, most of it is sent to the United States.

(The ending follows)

1. BP Statistical Review of World Energy, June 2013.

2. China poised to become the world's largest net oil importer later this year, August 9, 2013 // U.S. Energy Information Administration -

3. Green GDP Accounting Study Report 2004 issued., September 11, 2006 // PRC State Council - - 09/11/content_384596.htm

4. See: Ushakov I. V. Ecological labyrinth. Socio-economic aspects of environmental management in China, Moscow, 2008. (Ushakov I. V. Ekologicheskiy labirint. Sotsialno-ekonomicheskie aspekty prirodopolzovaniya v Kitae. M., 2008) (in Russian)

5. China to invest heavily in air pollution treatment. 19.12.2013 -

6. Zhang Guohao. Vice Chairman National Development and Reform Commission, Material for the press conference of the State Council Information Office, September 13, 2005 // NDRC news -; Jiang Wenran. Beijing's New Thinking on Energy Security // China Brief. Vol. VI, Issue 8, April 12, 2006, p. 2.

7. Decision of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China on Some Major Issues Concerning Comprehensively Deepening the Reform. Adopted at the Third Plenary Session of the 18th Central Committee of the Communist Party of China on November 12, 2013 // Information Office of the State Council of the PRC, January 2014 - - 01/16/content 31212602.htm

8. Daqi wuzhan fangzhi sindong jihua [Action Plan for prevention of atmospheric pollution] / / Guouyuan (State Council of the People's Republic of China), 2013, September 10

9. China's Policies and Actions for Addressing Climate Change (White Paper) // Information Office of the State Council of the PRC, November 2012 -

10. James Tang. With the Grain or Against the Grain? Energy Security and Chinese Foreign Policy in the Hu Jintao Era. The Brookings Institution, October 2006, p. 12; Xu Qinhua. China's Energy Diplomacy and its Implication for Global Energy Security // FES Briefing Paper, Beijing, August 2007 -; Пань Чжунци. Zhongguo nengyuan anquan de diyuan zhengzhi [China's Energy Security in Geopolitics] / / Guoji wenti yanju. 2004, N 11, pp. 34-45; Men Honghua. Qiuebao nengyuan anquan de zhanliue yiyi [Strategic significance of the PRC Energy Security Solution] / / Taiping xiuebao. 2005, No. 1. pp. 12-20.

11. Mikheev V. The role of China in the globalizing world / / Otechestvennye zapiski. 2008, N 3. (Mikheyev V. Rol Kitaya v globaliziruyushchemsya mire // Otechestvennie zapiski. 2008, N 3) (in Russian)

12. Berger Ya.M. Vozvishenie Kitaya: Mezhdunarodnie aspekty // Mezhdunarodnaya zhizn. 2005, N 9) (in Russian)

13. Gaye Christoffersen. China's Intention for Russian and Central Asian Oil and Gas // NBR Analysis. Vol. 9, Number 2, p. 10.

14. Prohibiting Certain Transactions With Respect to the Development of Iranian Petroleum Resources. The President-Executive Order 12957 of March 15, 1995. Federal Register. Vol. 60, No. 52, 1995, March 17 // The U.S. Department of the Treasury -

15. Jaffe A.M., Lewis S. W. Beijing's Oil Diplomacy // Survival, Spring 2002. Vol. 44, N 1, p. 126 - 127.

16. Voskresenskiy A.D. "Big East Asia": energy aspects of international relations and security. Energeticheskie izmereniye mezhdunarodnykh otnosheniy i bezopasnosti. M., MGIMO, 2007, p. 37 (Moskresensky A.D. "Bolshaya Vostochnaya Aziya": Energeticheskiye aspekty mezhdunarodnykh otnosheniy i bezopasnosti. M., 2007) (in Russian); Borovsky Yuri. Politization of world energy / / International Processes, Vol. 6, No. 1 (16), January-April, 2008, p. 22. (Borovskiy Yuriy. Politizatsiya mirovoy energetiki // Mezhdunarodnie protsessy, 2008) (in Russian)

17. Carola Hoyos. The new Seven Sisters: oil and gas giants dwarf western rivals // The Financial Times, 2007, March 12 - http://www.ft.eom/cms/s/2/471ae1b8-d001-11db-94cb-000b5dfl0621,dwp_uuid=0bda728c-cc d0-11db-a938 - 000b5df10621.html

18. BP Statistical Review...


20. IEA cooperation with Asian non-member countries: oil security and emergency preparedness // IEA, 2006, p. 6.

21. China and OPEC start energy dialogue, December 23, 2005 // China Daily -

22. Joshua Schneyer, Nichoals Medina Mora Perez. Special Report: How China took control of an OPEC country's oil // Reuters, 2013, November 26 - 0HX20131126


Permanent link to this publication:

Similar publications: LGreat Britain LWorld Y G


Jack DowlyContacts and other materials (articles, photo, files etc)

Author's official page at Libmonster:

Find other author's materials at: Libmonster (all the World)GoogleYandex

Permanent link for scientific papers (for citations):

E. N. PETELIN, HOW TO BECOME A GLOBAL ENERGY POWER // London: British Digital Library (ELIBRARY.ORG.UK). Updated: 27.10.2023. URL: (date of access: 25.07.2024).

Found source (search robot):

Publication author(s) - E. N. PETELIN:

E. N. PETELIN → other publications, search: Libmonster Great BritainLibmonster WorldGoogleYandex


Reviews of professional authors
Order by: 
Per page: 
  • There are no comments yet
Related topics
Jack Dowly
London, United Kingdom
220 views rating
27.10.2023 (272 days ago)
0 subscribers
0 votes
Related Articles
Catalog: Other 
127 days ago · From Jack Dowly
Catalog: History 
131 days ago · From Jack Dowly
return. but how?
Catalog: Geography 
139 days ago · From Jack Dowly
Catalog: Military science 
141 days ago · From Jack Dowly
Catalog: Economics 
142 days ago · From Jack Dowly
Catalog: Other 
144 days ago · From Jack Dowly
Catalog: Sociology 
144 days ago · From Jack Dowly
Catalog: Political science 
144 days ago · From Jack Dowly
Catalog: Political science 
145 days ago · From Jack Dowly
Catalog: Economics 
145 days ago · From Jack Dowly

New publications:

Popular with readers:

News from other countries:

ELIBRARY.ORG.UK - British Digital Library

Create your author's collection of articles, books, author's works, biographies, photographic documents, files. Save forever your author's legacy in digital form. Click here to register as an author.
Library Partners


Editorial Contacts
Chat for Authors: UK LIVE: We are in social networks:

About · News · For Advertisers

British Digital Library ® All rights reserved.
2023-2024, ELIBRARY.ORG.UK is a part of Libmonster, international library network (open map)
Keeping the heritage of the Great Britain


US-Great Britain Sweden Serbia
Russia Belarus Ukraine Kazakhstan Moldova Tajikistan Estonia Russia-2 Belarus-2

Create and store your author's collection at Libmonster: articles, books, studies. Libmonster will spread your heritage all over the world (through a network of affiliates, partner libraries, search engines, social networks). You will be able to share a link to your profile with colleagues, students, readers and other interested parties, in order to acquaint them with your copyright heritage. Once you register, you have more than 100 tools at your disposal to build your own author collection. It's free: it was, it is, and it always will be.

Download app for Android