Chinese petroleum experts have expressed concern at the absence of a national oil and gas strategy as the country becomes more reliant on imported hydrocarbon resources to sustain its economic development.
Sun Yongxiang, a senior engineer with the PetroChina Petroleum Planning and Research Institute, said that China needs a long-term strategy on importing oil and natural gas resources as well as selecting import sources.
He expressed the worry that the lack of such a national strategy will prove unfavorable to China's long-term economic security and development.
Sun's concern is typical among China's petroleum experts. They agree that the central and local governments should reach consensus on the key issues from exploiting domestic oil and gas resources to diversifying sources of import.
Experts noted that the lack of a strategy is related to the restructuring in the country's petroleum industry now that oil and gas supervisory bodies of the government have been removed.
Four state-owned oil enterprises -- China National Petroleum Corporation, China Petrochemical Corporation, China National Offshore Oil Corporation and China Chemical Import and Export Corporation -- have been set up to replace former supervisory authorities.
China became a net importer of petroleum in 1993. It imported 60 million tons of crude oil in 2001, which accounted for 30 percent of the national demand for crude oil.
China is about to build its first terminal for liquefied natural gas imports in Guangdong Province. Experts predict that a national shortage of natural gas will emerge by 2005.
(Xinhua News Agency May 29, 2002)