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Press get access to strategic oil reserve bases
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Foreign journalists got their first glimpse of China's national strategic oil reserve bases today, something that has been taboo since construction began six years ago.

Journalists from 15 Chinese and foreign media organizations including Reuters, Bloomberg and Dow Jones Newswire have made their way to coastal Zhejiang Province, a visit that was jointly organized by National Energy Administration and State Council Information Office. The two oil bases they visited were Zhenhai and Zhoushan.

Zhenhai base, situated in Ningbo, a wealthy port city in the province, currently holds the largest amount of all the oil bases. Oil storage here began in earnest at the end of 2006 as part of China's effort to avoid major international oil fluctuation and guarantee its national energy safety.

The oil comes mainly from three channels -- direct purchase from international markets, Chinese companies' oil exploration in overseas territory, and local oil output.

China began constructing the first batch of reserve bases in 2003, all of which were located in coastal areas including Zhenhai and Zhoushan in Zhejiang Province, Huangdao in Shandong Province and Dalian in Liaoning Province. The total investment in the oil bases is over 100 billion yuan (US$14.6 billion).

A spokesperson with National Energy Administration said in a June 1 press conference that China is going to launch another eight bases this year, and an oil reserve management regulation has now been put on the legislative agenda.

In the past few years, the oil bases have shunned publicity because of safety and national security considerations. Now relevant authorities seem to have had a change of heart, and are allowing the projects to be exposed to public attention.

(Beijing Review June 3, 2009)


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