China will work toward ensuring energy security, at least, for the next 10 years despite mounting concerns to the contrary, a senior energy advisor to the government has asserted.
Han Wenke, member of the National Energy Advisory Committee said this yesterday during a panel discussion at a two-day seminar, 'Energy Security in Asia', held in Beijing. He was responding to queries regarding the factors affecting China's energy supply.
"Factoring in all the concerns, we can conclude that China's energy security can be ensured at least in the coming decade," said Han.
The relatively lower growth rate of energy consumption since 2005 has come as good news for the Chinese government even as the economy has been growing at a high pace, said Han.
Currently, the energy consumption growth was about 4 percent, dramatically dropping from 15 percent and 16 percent in 2003 and 2004 respectively.
Han said the strengthened measures to improve energy efficiency would keep energy demand growing at about 4 percent annually in future while the economy grows at around 8 percent.
"Stable and low demand growth is essential to energy security," said Han, also president of the Energy Research Institute of the National Development and Reform Commission.
He said other factors, such as the dramatic fluctuation in global oil prices, geopolitics, and domestic emergency response systems to energy supply suspension can also affect China's energy security.
"But all the factors are changing and through our efforts the damages due to these factors can be minimized," said Han.
Ding Zhimin, deputy department director of policies and laws at the National Energy Administration, told China Daily that China would continually depend on domestic supply to solve its energy problem.
"This is a strategy that we will not change and that's the foundation of our energy security," said Ding.
She said China would make strides in constructing nuclear, solar and wind power stations while exploring conventional energy resources.
Han said China would not slacken in efforts at oil and natural gas exploration at home despite plunging global oil prices. He added that China would do more to tap oil and gas, especially in deepseas, to meet its growing energy demand.
"We are determined to explore more oil and natural gas resources to ensure our energy security even though oil prices are low now," Han said.
While strengthening domestic efforts, China will also continuously import more oil from overseas producers, said Han, forecasting that China's oil imports will increase from last year's 190 million tons to nearly 360 millions in 2020.
Last year, China's dependence on oil imports had already reached 50 percent. Oil prices have plunged from $147 a barrel last July to around $35 this March. It has since surged by 75 percent from the March low to around $60 a barrel.
"And, I think, by 2020 our dependence on oil imports will touch 60 percent," said Han.
(China Daily May 22, 2009)