China's O&G Consumption to Rise

(This article is part 2 of a 3-part series on Opportunities in China.)

China's growing economy and population means the country is consuming more oil and natural gas. Since 1980, Chinese oil consumption, including Hong Kong and Taiwan, has grown from just over 2 million bpd to over 10 million bpd in 2010. Natural gas consumption also has grown from approximately 575 Bcf in 1980 to nearly 4.5 Tcf in 2010.

The International Energy Agency forecasts that Chinese oil consumption will nearly double over the 25 years to over 19 million bpd, and gas consumption is expected to reach over 22.4 Tcf during that time.

China has proved oil reserves of nearly 15 billion barrels and 100 Tcf of natural gas reserves. However, China has had to rely on oil imports as its domestic resources are not enough to meet growing demand.

"Even with its vast, technically recoverable unconventional gas resources, in the form of shale and coal seam gas, China is facing growing energy import dependence," according to the Ernst & Young report, Fueling the dragon: China's investment into the oil and gas market.

Concerns over growing import dependence have encouraged the Chinese government to intensify domestic exploration, boost crude oil and oil product storage capacity, and secure long-term crude oil supply deals from overseas producers.

China's government also has been encouraging Chinese companies to aggressively acquire oil and gas assets and companies in all the major producing regions as a means of securing production. Chinese state banks have pledged large loans to oil producer states such as Russia, Angola, Venezuela and Brazil as part of package deals that also included long-term crude supply agreements.

Chinese companies also have stepped up efforts to secure gas from overseas markets, including long-term liquefied natural gas contracts with Qatar, Australia, Indonesia and Malaysia.

Securing oil and gas supplies is critical to the Chinese government meeting its Five-Year Development Plan for the nation, the goals of which include raising the population's standard of living, said Dr. Robert Lawrence Kuhn, investment banker, international corporate strategist and expert on China's business market, at a recent Ernst & Young presentation on oil and gas investment in China..

Initially, economic growth was all that mattered, but now, sustainable development, pollution, and other issues must be addressed to maintain economic development. Now, the government must deliver on its promise of increasing the population's living standards or loose political footing, said Kuhn.

Back to Part 1: Shale Gas among O&G Opportunities in China

Continue to Part 3: Expert: Understanding China's First Step to Business Success