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June 2002

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The People's Republic of China (China) is the world's most populous country and the second largest energy consumer (after the United States).  Production and consumption of coal, its dominant fuel, is the highest in the world.  Rising oil demand and imports have made China a significant factor in world oil markets.  All information contained in this report is the best available as of May 2002 and is subject to change.

Map of China.  Having problems?  Call our National Energy Information Center at 202-586-8800 for assistance. GENERAL BACKGROUND
China is the world's most populous country, with a rapidly growing economy. Economic development has proceeded unevenly, with urban coastal areas, particularly in the Southeast, experiencing more rapid economic development than other areas of the country.  China has a mixed economy, with a combination of state-owned and private firms. A number of state-owned firms have undergone partial or full privatization in recent years.  The Chinese government has encouraged foreign investment -- in some sectors of the economy and subject to constraints -- since the 1980s, offering several "special economic zones" in which foreign investors receive preferable tax, tariff, and investment treatment.  

With China's entry into the World Trade Organization (WTO) in November 2001, the Chinese government made a number of specific commitments to trade and investment liberalization which, if fully implemented, will substantially open the Chinese economy to foreign firms.  In the energy sector, this will mean the lifting or sharp reduction of tarriffs associated with imports of some classes of capital goods, and the eventual opening to foreign competition of some areas such as retail sales of petroleum products.  It still remains to be seen how these commitments will be implemented.

Despite moves toward privatization, much of China's economy remains controlled by large State Owned Enterprises (SOE's), many of which are inefficient and unprofitable.  Restructuring of the SOE sector, including the privatization of some enterprises, is a major priority of the government, as is restructuring of the banking sector.  Many Chinese banks have had to write off large amounts of delinquent debts from state-owned enterprises.  Quarterly earnings at many SOEs are reported to have fallen sharply in the first quarter of 2002, after rising in 2001.  It is unclear how much of this is due to changes in accounting practices, as opposed to other factors such as weak demand for exports.

Layoffs have been part of the restructuring of the SOEs, as many were severely overstaffed.  This has created unemployment, and also has been a burden on the government budget, as the government begins to provide social benefits which were previously the responsibility of the SOEs.  Large protests against SOE layoffs have taken place in early 2002, including in cities closely associated with the oil and coal industries.  

China's real GDP grew by 7.3% in 2001, according to official Chinese figures, down from 8.0% growth in 2000.  Real GDP growth for 2002 is forecast at 7.0%.  The Chinese government's current Five Year Plan (2001-2005) sets a target of 7.0% real annual GDP growth.  Some outside analysts have questioned the reliability of the official data, however.

Inflows of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) into China in 2001 totalled $46.8 billion, a new record, and data from the first two months of 2002 shows continuing strength.  Japan, Taiwan, and the United States are China's most important sources of FDI.  

In general, China's trade surplus has been falling in recent years, and imports have been rising.  The 2001 trade surplus was $22.6 billion, down from a peak of $43.6 billion in 2001.  Imports have been increasing, largely capital goods being acquired to refurbish outdated industrial facilities, but also consumer goods.

China has several territorial disputes with other regional states which are relevant to the energy sector, particularly the dispute over the potentially hydrocarbon-rich Spratly Islands, which are claimed by China, Vietnam, the Phillipines, Brunei, Taiwan, and Malaysia. Another dispute is over the East China Sea, claimed by Japan.

China currently is the world's third largest oil consumer, behind the United States and Japan. Consumption of petroleum products totalled 4.78 million barrels per day (bbl/d) in 2000, up from 4.36 million bbl/d in 1999.  China is expected to surpass Japan as the second largest world oil consumer within the next decade and reach a consumption level of 10.5 million bbl/d by 2020, making it a major factor in the world oil market.

Chinese Oil Production and Consumption 1980-2000 China's petroleum industry has undergone major changes in recent years. In 1998, the Chinese government reorganized most state owned oil and gas assets into two vertically integrated firms -- the China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) and the China Petrochemical Corporation (Sinopec).   Before the restructuring, CNPC had been engaged mainly in oil and gas exploration and production, while Sinopec had been engaged in refining and distribution.  In 1998, the Chinese government ordered an asset swap which transferred some exploration and production assets to Sinopec and some refining and distribution assets to CNPC.  This created two regionally focused firms, CNPC in the north and west, and Sinopec in the south, though CNPC is still tilted toward crude oil production and Sinopec toward refining.  Other major state sector firms in China include the China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC), which handles offshore exploration and production and accounts for more than 10% of China's domestic crude production, and China National Star Petroleum, a new company which was created in 1997.

The intention of the restructuring was to make these state firms more like similar vertically integrated corporate entities elsewhere.  In connection with this process, the firms have been spinning off or eliminating many unprofitable ancillary activities such as running housing units, hospitals, and other services near company facilities.  Massive layoffs also have been undertaken, as like many other Chinese SOEs, they were severely overstaffed.  Labor unrest has been reported in early 2002 in several locations with CNPC facilties.

The three largest Chinese oil and gas firms - Sinopec, CNPC, and CNOOC - all have successfully carried out initial public offerings (IPOs) of stock within the last two years, bringing in billions of dollars in foreign capital. CNPC separated out most of its high quality assets into a subsidiary called PetroChina in early 2000, and carried out its IPO of a minority interest on both the Hong Kong and New York stock exchanges in April 2000.  The IPO raised over $3 billion, with BP the largest purchaser at 20% of the shares offered.  Sinopec carried out its IPO in New York and Hong Kong in October 2000, raising about $3.5 billion.  Like the PetroChina IPO, only a minority stake of 15% was offered.  About $2 billion of this amount was purchased by the three global super-majors - ExxonMobil, BP, and Shell. CNOOC held its IPO of a 27.5% stake in February 2001, after an earlier attempt in September 1999 was canceled.  Shell bought a large block of shares valued at around $200 million.

Several aspects of these stock offerings were very atypical.  First, they all involved only minority stakes.  Second, they have not given the foreign investors a major voice in corporate governace.  The Chinese government still holds majority stakes in all three firms, and the foreign investors have not received seats on their boards of directors. Analysts have generally seen these investments as attempts by the supermajors to gain a foothold in China, which will necessarily involve partnerships with the Chinese majors.  Even with the opening to foreign investment envisioned in China's commitments for membership in the WTO, it is still likely that almost all major oil and gas projects in China will involve one of the Chinese majors.  The Chinese government stipulated in July 2001 that only CNPC and Sinopec will be allowed to open new retail filling stations prior to fulfillment of China's market-opening commitment in 2004.  This is seen as an attempt to strengthen their control of retail sales of petroleum products and ensure that foreign firms will have to partner with one or the other of the Chinese majors to enter the retail market, even after 2004.  All three of the global supermajors, BP, ExxonMobil, and Shell, are planning to enter the Chinese retail market in partnership with CNPC, Sinopec, or both.

As a net oil importer since 1993, China's petroleum industry is focused on meeting domestic demand, but it does still export a modest amount of crude oil. The largest export customer by far is Japan, which imports Daqing crude oil to burn directly in electric power plants. As of early 2002, China's exports of Daqing crude oil to Japan were around 50,000 bbl/d, down substantially from export levels during the 1990s.

Most Chinese oil production capacity, close to 90%, is located onshore. One field alone, Daqing in northeastern China, accounts for about 1.0 million bbl/d of China's production, out of a total crude oil production of around 3.3 million bbl/d. Daqing is a mature field, however, having begun production in 1963.  It is expected to show declining production in the future, but the discovery of additional small oil-bearing structures at the field and the introduction of enhanced recovery technologies may slow the decline.  At China's second-largest producing field, Liaohe in northeastern China, CNPC has solicited proposals from potential foreign partners to help it enhance recovery rates and extend production, though no contracts have yet been signed.  In December 2000, regulatory changes were announced which will remove some of the barriers to foreign firms forming partnerships with Chinese oil majors.  Government priorities focus on stabilizing production in the eastern regions of the country at current levels, increasing production in new fields in the West, and developing the infrastructure required to deliver western oil and gas to consumers in the East.  Offshore development also is a high priority. Chinese officials have said that they expect production in Xinjiang to reach 1 million bbl/d by 2008, but that seems ambitious, given that transportation of that oil to consumers in the East remains a major obstacle.

Recent offshore oil exploration interest has centered on the Bohai Sea area, east of Tianjin, believed to hold more than 1.5 billion barrels in reserves, and the Pearl River Mouth area.  Phillips Petroleum announced in March 2000 that it had completed its appraisal drilling of the Peng Lai find in Block 11/05, and would proceed with development. Full scale production at the field is expected to reach more than 100,000 bbl/d by 2004.  Shell and CNOOC signed a production sharing contract for exploration in the Bonan area of the Bohai Sea in January 2001.  Seismic survey work is taking place, and drilling is scheduled to begin in 2003.  CNOOC also signed a production sharing contract with Canadian independent Husky Oil in July 2001 for Block 39-05 in the Pearl River Mouth, near the Wenchang 13-1/13-2 blocks, where Husky Oil and CNOOC already are producing about 50,000 bbl/d.  Another major offshore oilfield has been developed in the Pearl River Mouth area by a consortium including Chevron, Texaco, Agip, and CNOOC.  The field began production in February 1999.  Meanwhile, improvement in Sino-Vietnamese relations has opened the way for oil and gas exploration in the Beibu Gulf (known in Vietnam as the Gulf of Tonkin).  China and Vietnam signed an agreement in December 2000 which settled their outstanding disputes over sovereignty and economic rights in offshore areas near their border.  The Spratly Islands in the South China Sea also are suspected to hold oil and gas reserves, but the area, as mentioned above, is claimed by several neighboring states.

With China's expectation of growing future dependence on oil imports, China has been acquiring interests in exploration and production abroad. CNPC holds oil concessions in Kazakhstan, Venezuela, Sudan, Iraq, Iran, and Peru, and Azerbaijan. Sinopec also has begun seeking to purchase overseas upstream assets.  The most significant deal thus far is CNPC's aquisition of a 60% stake in the Kazakh oil firm Aktobemunaigaz, which came with a pledge to invest significantly in the company's future development over the next twenty years.  While there had been some discussion of a possible oil pipeline from Kazakhstan to China, CNPC has said that it would only be considered if reserves were sufficient and it was economical, which looks doubtful.  The Greater Nile Petroleum Operating Company (GNPOC), the Sudanese oil project in which CNPC owns a stake, began exports in August 1999.  The CNPC concession in Iraq cannot be developed until United Nations economic sanctions are lifted, at least to the extent of allowing foreign investment in Iraqi oil infrastructure.  CNOOC also has purchased an upsteam equity stake in the small Malacca Strait oilfield in Indonesia.

Russia's Far East is seen as a potential source of Chinese crude oil imports. The Russian and Chinese governments have been holding regular discussions on the feasibility of pipelines to make such exports possible. One proposed major project is a $1.7-billion pipeline from Irkutsk to Beijing being backed by Russia's Yukos Oil, which, if developed, could carry 400,000 bbl/d of oil, mainly from the Tomsk region. CNPC and Yukos signed an agreement in July 2001 to carry out a feasibility study for the project, which is due to be completed in mid-2002.  An alternative plan, proposed by Russian pipeline operator Transneft, would take Russian crude from both West Siberia and East Siberia via a 1 million bbl/d pipeline to an export terminal at the Pacific coast port of Nakhodka.  China would presumably be one of the major consumers of oil from such a project, but it would also give Russia increased access to the Japanese, South Korean, and other East Asian markets.

Downstream infrastructure development in China centers primarily on upgrading existing refineries rather than building new ones, due to current overcapacity.  In the late 1990s, the Chinese government shut down 110 small refineries, which generally made inferior quality petroleum products.  62 other small refineries owned by provincial and local governments also are likely to be merged into CNPC and Sinopec in the near future.  Another major issue in the Chinese downstream sector is the lack of adequate refining capacity suitable for heavier Middle Eastern crude oil, which will become a necessity as Chinese import demand rises in the mid-term future.  Several existing refineries are being upgraded to handle heavier and more sour grades of crude oil.

Chinese officials have spoken of their intention to build a national strategic petroleum reserve, but no formal policy announcement has taken place, and it is unclear whether China would build a government-held reserve of crude oil like the U.S. Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) or make the maintenance of a minimum stock level a regulatory requirement of doing business as a refiner, which is the basis for strategic reserves in Japan and South Korea.

Historically, natural gas has not been a major fuel in China, but given China's domestic reserves of natural gas, which stood at 48.3 trillion cubic feet (Tcf) at the beginning of 2002, and the environmental benefits of using gas, China has embarked on a major expansion of its gas infrastructure.  Until the 1990s, natural gas was used largely as a feedstock for fertilizer plants, with little use for electricity generation.  Gas currently accounts for only slightly more than 3% of total energy consumption in China, but consumption is expected to more than triple by 2010.  This will involve increases in domestic production, and imports, by pipeline and in the form of liquefied natural gas (LNG).

The country's largest reserves of natural gas are located in western and north-central China, necessitating a significant further investment in pipeline infrastructure to carry it to eastern cities. China is planning to build a pipeline, the "West-to-East Pipeline," from gas deposits in the western Xinjiang province to Shanghai, picking up additional gas in the Ordos Basin along the way.  Shell was chosen in February 2002 as the lead firm for the project, and Gazprom and ExxonMobil will hold significant stakes. Sinopec also is likely to be added as an equity partner, but only for a 5% stake.  Though construction had been scheduled to begin in 2001, it is unclear how long it will take to finalize terms for the contract.  Some of the potential foreign partners in the project are reported to have concerns about the $18 billion project's commercial viability, even though letters of intent have been signed with several of the project's intended customers.  The concern stems from the possibility that the Tarim Basin gas deposits may provide enough gas for only 20 years of operation, while close to 40 years of operation could be needed to make it profitable, given the massive construction costs.  While it is unlikely to happen in the near future, the West-to-East Pipeline eventually could serve as a trunkline which could be extended to receive gas from Central Asia.

China announced a discovery of a major gas field at Sulige in the Ordos Basin in the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, adjacent to the Changqing oilfield, in 2001.  While the field is still under evaluation, recent unofficial reserve estimates cited in the trade press put reserves in the range of 16-21 Tcf, substantially more than was assumed when the discovery was first announced.  Some natural gas from from the Ordos Basin is likely to be put into the West-to-East Pipeline, which was to run through the area in any case, and help make it economically viable.  A pipeline was completed in 1997 between the Ordos Basin and Beijing, and a second pipeline is planned in the near future, as demand for natural gas in Beijing, Tianjin, and nearby Hebei province already is outstripping the capacity of the original pipeline.

Another proposed pipeline project would link the Russian natural gas grid in Siberia to China and possibly South Korea via a pipeline from the Kovykta gas fields near Irkutsk, which hold reserves of more than 50 Tcf. The cost of the project has been estimated at $12 billion, and a feasibility study is underway.  The pipeline would have a planned capacity of 2.9 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d), of which China would likely consume about 1.9 Bcf/d and South Korea 1 Bcf/d.  The main South Korea gas company, Kogas, formally joined the feasibility study in November 2000.  The main foreign backer of the project is BP, which owns a 30% stake in Rusia Petroleum , the license holder for the Kovykta gas field.  The project faces some hurdles, however, as it would involve South Korea becoming dependent on gas supplies routed through China and North Korea.   The project seems to have made little progress in the last year, due to tensions on the Korean peninsula and possibly Chinese expectations of additional domestic supplies for northeastern China based on the large new natural gas find in the Ordos Basin. It is not clear that the project would be economical if it is not extended to South Korea.

Aside from these huge projects, other pipelines are being developed to link smaller natural gas deposits to other consumers. A pipeline was completed in early 2002 linking the Sebei natural gas field in the Qaidam Basin with consumers in the city of Lanzhou.  Another planned project would link gas deposits in Sichuan province in the southwest to consumers in Hubei and Hunan provinces in central China at an estimate cost of $600 million.

One major hurdle for natural gas projects in China is the lack of a unified regulatory system.  Currently, natural gas prices are governed by a patchwork of local regulations.  The Chinese government is in the process of drafting a new legal framework for the natural gas sector, which has become an urgent priority to reassure Shell and other potential foreign investors in the West-to-East Pipeline that there will be a stable regulatory environment.  

Offshore gas projects also are becoming a significant part of China's gas supply.  The Yacheng 13-1 field, developed in the mid-1990s, has been producing gas for Hong Kong and Hainan Island since 1996.  The Chunxiao gas field in the East China Sea, being developed by China National Star Petroleum, is also expected to become a significant producer within the next decade.  The company puts the field's reserves at more than 1.6 Tcf.  Another area where where exploratory drilling is planned is the Xihu Trough, in the East China Sea about 250 miles east of Shanghai.

Imported liquefied natural gas (LNG) will be used primarily in China's southeastern coastal region. Guangdong province already has launched a project to build six, 320-megawatt (MW) gas-fired power plants, and to convert existing oil fired plants with a capacity of 1.8 gigawatts (GW) to LNG.  In March 2001, it was announced that BP had been selected to build China's first LNG import terminal, to be located near the city of Guangdong.  BP will take a 30% equity stake in the project, with CNOOC holding 31% and the rest held by local firms from Guangdong and Hong Kong.  Proposals for supplies of LNG to the terminal were received in May 2002 from three potential suppliers, RasGas of Qatar, Shell's Northwest Shelf LNG project in Australia, and BP's planned Tangguh LNG project in Indonesia. A second LNG import terminal is planned for Fujian province, to be completed in 2005 or 2006.

Coal makes up the bulk, over 63%, of China's primary energy consumption, and China is both the largest consumer and producer of coal in the world.  China's coal consumption in 2000 was 1.27 billion short tons, or over 24% of the world total.   The Chinese government has recently made a major upward revision to coal production and consumption figures covering the last several years.  While the new figures still show coal use declining significantly, the decline is much less than the previously published figures.  

China's coal industry has had a serious oversupply problem in recent years, particularly in the late 1990s, and the government has begun implementing major reforms aimed at reducing the oversupply, returning large state-owned mines to profitability as a prelude to possible future privatization, and reducing mine accidents. Large state-owned coal mines had experienced buildups of unused inventories in the mid-to-late-1990s, and many were operating at a financial loss.  A large number of small, unlicensed mines also have added to the oversupply.  In 1998, the government launched a large-scale effort to close down the small mines.  Many small coal mines have been closed, and the effort is continuing.  As a result of the closures, depressed local coal prices have started to recover, and combined with cost-cutting measures, some of the large-scale mines returned to profitability in 2000.  It has become clear, however, through much anecdotal evidence, that not all of the "closed" mines have actually ceased operation, and the recent revision to the Chinese State Statistical Bureau's production and consumption figures appears to reflect this.  China also is increasingly seeking export markets for its coal as a way of dealing with its surplus production. According to figures published by the Chinese government, China's net coal exports for 2001 rose by 46% from the previous year.  Japan and South Korea are the primary markets, and China is beginning to emerge as a serious competitor to Australia for Japanese coal imports.  India also has been importing modest quantities of Chinese coal.

Over the longer term, China's coal demand is projected to rise significantly , roughly doubling by the year 2020.  While coal's share of overall Chinese energy consumption is projected to fall, coal consumption will still be increasing in absolute terms. Several projects exist for the development of coal-fired power plants co-located with large mines, so called "coal by wire" projects.  Other technological improvements also are being undertaken, including the first small-scale projects for coal gasification, and a coal slurry pipeline to transport coal to the port of Qingdao.  Coalbed methane production also is being developed, with recent American investors in this effort including BP, Texaco, and Virgin Oil, which was awarded a concession for exploration in Ningxia province in January 2001.  Texaco is the largest foreign investor in coalbed methane, with activities in several provinces.  Coalbed methane production is expected to reach 0.4 billion Tcf by 2010.

In contrast to the past, China is becoming more open to foreign investment in the coal sector, particularly in modernization of existing large-scale mines and the development of new ones. The China National Coal Import and Export Corporation is the primary Chinese partner for foreign investors in the coal sector. Areas of interest in foreign invesment concentrate on new technologies only recently introduced in China or with environmental benefit, including coal liquefaction, coal bed methane production, and slurry pipeline transportation projects.  Over the longer term, China plans to aggregate the large state coal mines into seven corporations by the end of 2005, in a process similar to the creation of CNPC and Sinopec out of state assets.  Such firms might then seek to pursue foreign capital through international stock offerings.

China has expressed a strong interest in coal liquefaction technology, and would like see liquid fuels based on coal substitute for some of its petroleum demand for transportation.  The first pilot coal liquefaction plant is planned to be operational in coal-rich Shanxi in late 2001.  Shell also signed an agreement in December 2001 for a coal gasification project in Yueyang in Hunan province, which is to replace naphtha as a feedstock for a large fertilizer plant.

As with coal, China's electric power industry experienced a serious oversupply problem in 1998-99, due largely to demand reductions from closures of inefficient state-owned industrial units, which were major consumers of electricity.  The Chinese government responded to the short-term oversupply in part by implementing a drive to close down small thermal power plants and by imposing a moratorium (with a few exceptions) on approval of new power plant construction, which ran through January 1, 2002, and there have not been a large number of new projects approved since then.  Most of the small power plants closed were diesel or coal-fired plants which were opened by provincial or municipal governments as demand grew in the 1980's, and were relatively inefficient and polluting.  Even with the moratorium on new construction approvals, many power plants have been coming online, due to the very large backlog of power generation projects approved prior to the moratorium.  When the moratorium took effect, there was a total of 70 GW of new capacity under construction or with final approval, much of which is still under development. 

The largest project under construction, by far, is the Three Gorges Dam, which, when fully completed in 2009, will include 26 separate 700-MW generators, for a total of 18.2 GW.  Plans were announced in March 2002 to reorganize the Three Gorges project into the China Three Gorges Electric Power Corporation.  The corporation is expected to seek capital through an equity offering open to foreign investors, similar to those already carried out by the major Chinese oil companies, in 2003.

Another large hydropower project involves a series of dams on the upper portion of the Yellow River.  Shaanxi, Qinghai, and Gansu provinces have joined to create the Yellow River Hydroelectric Development Corporation, with plans for the eventual construction of 25 generating stations with a combined installed capacity of 15.8 GW.  Seven of these stations are either under construction or currently in operation.

Most of the major developments taking place in the Chinese electricity sector in 2002 involve nuclear power.  Several nuclear projects are under construction, with the involvement of Russian, French, and Canadian firms.  The first generation unit of the Lingao nuclear power plant in Guangdong province began commercial operation in May 2002, with a capacity of 1-GW. The second 1 GW generating unit is expected to begin operating in March 2003.  An additional 600-MW generating unit at the Qinshan nuclear power plant in Zhejiang province began operation in February 2002, and another 600-MW unit at the same site is scheduled to begin delivering electricity in late 2002.

A major issue for China's electric power industry is the distribution of generation among power plants. China's stated intention eventually is to create a unified national power grid, and to have a modern power market in which plants sell power to the grid at market-determined rates. In the short term, though, traditional arrangements still hold sway, and state-owned power plants which have government connections tend to have a higher priority than independent private plants. Additionally, some private plants with "take-or-pay" contracts, which provide for guaranteed minimum sales amounts, have had trouble getting the provincial authorities running the local grids to honor those terms.

In the short term, oversupply and uncertainty are likely to reduce foreign investment in China's power sector. In the longer term, though, growth in electricity consumption is projected at 5.5% per year through 2020.  The largest gainer in terms of fuel share in the future is expected to be natural gas, due largely to environmental concerns in China's rapidly industrializing coastal provinces.  If a truly competitive market for electric power develops as planned, the Chinese market may once again become attractive to foreign investment. At present, foreign direct investment is allowed only in power generation, but loan financing has been obtained for some power transmission projects.

The Chinese government is in the early stages of formulating a fundamental long-term restructuring of their electric power sector, embodies in the National Power Industry Framework Reform Plan promulgated by the State Council in April 2002. As with many other countries reform programs, generating assets are to be largely separated from transmission and distribution.  The State Power Corporation (SPC) will divest most of its generating assets (though retaining about 20%), and then be split into regional transmission and distribution companies. Electricity prices will still be regulated, but there are likely to be major changes in tarriffs and the overall regulatory structure for electricity pricing. The process is at an early stage, and many of the details remain to be worked out.

China suffers from major energy-related environmental problems.  According to a report by the World Health Organization (WHO), seven of the world's ten most polluted cities are in China.  The country's heavy use of unwashed coal leads to large emissions of sulfur dioxide and particulate matter.  China also is important to any effort to curb emissions of greenhouse gases, as it is projected to experience the largest absolute growth in carbon dioxide emissions between now and the year 2020.

China is a non-Annex I country under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, meaning that it has not agreed to binding targets for reduction of carbon dioxide emissions under the Kyoto Protocol.  While the Chinese government is concerned with its environmental problems, it tends to be more concerned with local problems, such as particulate matter and sulfur dioxide emissions.  Thus, it is undertaking efforts to lessen emissions of pollutants such as sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide, through improved pollution controls on power plants as well as policies designed to increase the share of natural gas in the country's fuel mix, particularly around major metropolitan areas.

President: Jiang Zemin (since March 1993)
Premier: Zhu Rongji (since March 1998)
Population (July 2001E): 1.3 billion
Location/Size: Eastern Asia/3.7 million square miles (9.6 million square kilometers, slightly smaller than the United States)
Major Cities: Beijing (capital), Shanghai, Tianjin, Guangzhou, Shenyang, Wuhan, Chengdu, Hong Kong
Languages: Mandarin (official), many local dialects
Ethnic Groups: Han Chinese (92%); Zhuang, Uygur, Hui, Yi, Tibetan, Miao, Manchu, Mongol, Buyi, Korean, others (8%)
Religion: Officially atheist; Daoism, Buddhism, Muslim (2-3%); Christian (1%)
Defense (8/98): Army (2.1 million), Navy (260,000), Air Force (470,000), reserves (1.2 million), People's Armed Police (1 million)

Currency: Yuan
Exchange Rate (6/2/02): US$1 = 8.3 Yuan/Renminbi
Gross Domestic Product (2001E): $1.18 trillion  (2002F): $1.27 trillion
Real GDP Growth Rate (2001E): 7.3% (2002F): 6.7%
Inflation Rate (2002F): 0.6%
Current Account Surplus (2002F): $20.3 billion
Major Trading Partners: Japan, United States, European Union, South Korea, Taiwan
Merchandise Exports (2002F): $303.6 billion
Merchandise Imports (2002F): $254.1 billion
Merchandise Trade Surplus (2002F): $33.1 billion
Major Export Products: Light industrial and textile products, mineral fuels, heavy manufactures, agricultural goods
Major Import Products: Machinery, steel, chemicals, miscellaneous manufactures, industrial materials, grain
Monetary Reserves (2002F, non-gold): $174.2 billion
External Debt (2002F): $164.1 billion

Proven Oil Reserves (1/1/02E): 24 billion barrels
Oil Production (2001E): 3.3 million barrels per day (bbl/d)
Oil Consumption (2001E): 4.9 million bbl/d
Net Oil Imports (2001E): 1.6 million bbl/d
Crude Oil Refining Capacity (1/1/02E): 4.5 million bbl/d
Natural Gas Reserves (1/1/02E): 48.3 trillion cubic feet (Tcf)
Natural Gas Production (2000E): 0.96 Tcf
Natural Gas Consumption (2000E): 0.96 Tcf
Recoverable Coal Reserves (1/1/96E): 126.2 billion short tons
Coal Production (2000E): 1.27 billion short tons
Coal Consumption (2000E): 1.31 billion short tons
Electric Generation Capacity (1/1/00E): 294 GW (222 GW thermal; 70 GW hydro; 2 GW nuclear)
Electricity Generation (1999E): 1,308 billion kilowatthours (1,070 conventional thermal; 220 hydro; 16 nuclear)

Statistical note: All data reported here exclude Hong Kong, a former British colony which reverted to China on July 1, 1997.

Minister of Land and Natural Resources: Yongkang Zhou
Minister of Water Resources: Shucheng Wang
Total Energy Consumption (2000E): 36.7 quadrillion Btu (9.2% of world total energy consumption)
Energy-Related Carbon Emissions (2000E): 775.0 million metric tons of carbon (12.0% of world carbon emissions)
Per Capita Energy Consumption (2000E): 28.8 million Btu (vs. U.S. value of 351.0 million Btu)
Per Capita Carbon Emissions (2000E): 0.61 metric tons of carbon (vs. U.S. value of 5.6 metric tons of carbon)
Energy Intensity (2000E): 35,201 Btu/$1995 (vs. U.S. value of 10,918 Btu/$1995)**
Carbon Intensity (2000E): 0.74 metric tons of carbon/thousand $1995 (vs. U.S. value of 0.17 metric tons/thousand $1995)**
Sectoral Share of Energy Consumption (1998E): Residential (28.3%), Industrial (59.9%), Transportation (7.4%), Commercial (4.4%)
Sectoral Share of Carbon Emissions (1998E): Transportation (8.6%), Industrial (75.1%), Commercial (5.3%), Residential (10.9%)
Fuel Share of Energy Consumption (2000E): Oil (26.8%), Natural Gas (3.0%), Coal (63.6%)
Fuel Share of Carbon Emissions (2000E): Oil (22.0%), Natural Gas (2.1%), Coal (75.9%)
Renewable Energy Consumption (1998E): 10,895 trillion Btu* (2% increase from 1997)
Number of People per Motor Vehicle (1998): 125 (vs. U.S. value of 1.3)
Status in Climate Change Negotiations: Non-Annex I country under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (ratified January 5th, 1993). Signatory to the Kyoto Protocol (signed May 29th, 1998 - not yet ratified).
Major Environmental Issues: Air pollution (greenhouse gases, sulfur dioxide particulates) from the overwhelming use of high-sulfur coal as a fuel, producing acid rain which is damaging forests; water shortages experienced throughout the country, particularly in urban areas and in the north; future growth in water usage threatens to outpace supplies; water pollution from industrial effluents; much of the population does not have access to potable water; less than 10% of sewage receives treatment; deforestation; estimated loss of one-fifth of agricultural land since 1949 to soil erosion and economic development; desertification; trade in endangered species.
Major International Environmental Agreements: A party to the Antarctic-Environmental Protocol, Antarctic Treaty, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94 and Wetlands. Has signed but not ratified: Nuclear Test Ban.

* The total energy consumption statistic includes petroleum, dry natural gas, coal, net hydro, nuclear, geothermal, solar, wind, wood and waste electric power. The renewable energy consumption statistic is based on International Energy Agency (IEA) data and includes hydropower, solar, wind, tide, geothermal, solid biomass and animal products, biomass gas and liquids, industrial and municipal wastes. Sectoral shares of energy consumption and carbon emissions are also based on IEA data.
**GDP based on EIA International Energy Annual 2000

Organization: Coal - China National Local Coal Mines Development Corp., China Northeast & NEI-Mongolia United Coal Co., numerous local state-owned mines and rural collectives; Coal import/exports - China Coal Import and Export Group; Petroleum - China National Petroleum Corp. (CNPC, PetroChina is its publicly traded subsidiary), China National Offshore Oil Corp. (CNOOC), China National Oil & Gas Exploration & Development Corp. (CNODC), China National Star Petroleum (Star); China National Petrochemical Corp. (SINOPEC); Oil imports/exports - China National Chemicals Import and Export Corporation (SINOCHEM), China United Petroleum Corporation (China Oil), China United Petrochemical Corp. (UNIPEC); Electric power - China State Power Corp., Huaneng Group, Inc., China National Power Industry Corp. (CNPIC), regional electric power corporations, China National Nuclear Industry Corp., China International Water and Electric Corp. (CWE).; Energy Finance - China National Energy Investment Corp.
Major Producing Oil Fields (2000 Production): Daqing (1.1 MMBD), Shengli (0.5 MMBD), Liaohe (0.3 MMBD)
Major Refineries (1/1/02 Capacity): Fushun (184,800 bbl/d), Maoming (170,700 bbl/d), Qilu (160,700 bbl/d), Gaoqiao (150,600 bbl/d), Dalian (142,600 bbl/d), Yanshan (190,800 bbl/d), Jinling (140,600 bbl/d); Zhenlai (160,700 bbl/d)

Sources for this report include: Asia Pulse; Coal Week International; Dow Jones Newswire; Economist Intelligence Unit; Financial Times; Oil and Gas Journal; Oil Daily; Petroleum Economist; Petroleum Intelligence Weekly; South China Morning Post; U.S. Commerce Department; International Trade Administration -- Country Commercial Guides; U.S. Energy Information Administration; DRI/WEFA Asia Economic Outlook; World Gas Intelligence.


For more information from EIA on China, please see:
EIA - Country Information on China

Links to other U.S. Government sites:
CIA World Factbook - China
U.S. Department of Energy - Office of Fossil Energy - China
Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) - China Energy Group
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNL) - China E-News
Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) - China Energy Study
National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) - China
U.S. State Department Consular Information Sheet - China Programs
U.S. State Department - Country Commercial Guide - China
U.S. State Department Background Notes on China  
U.S. Embassy, Beijing
U.S. Embassy, Beijing, Report on "The Controversy Over China's Reported Falling Energy Use - August 2001"
Library of Congress Country Study on China

The following links are provided solely as a service to our customers, and therefore should not be construed as advocating or reflecting any position of the Energy Information Administration (EIA) or the United States Government. In addition, EIA does not guarantee the content or accuracy of any information presented in linked sites. 

China's Embassy in the United States
Chinese Ministry of Foreign Trade
China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC)
China Petrochemical Corporation (Sinopec)
China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC)
China Today
National Bureau of Asian Research
Tradeport Trade Directory, China
" China by the Numbers: How Reform Affected Chinese Economic Statistics ," paper by Prof. Thomas Rawski, University of Pittsburgh

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