The following is from a working paper titled “China and the Geopolitics of Oil in the Asian Pacific Region“, by Pablo Bustelo, Elcano Royal Institute for International and Strategic Affairs, Madrid. Thanks to Mr. Bustelo for sending in the link to CDT:
China’s growing demand for oil is significantly changing the international geopolitics of energy, especially in the Asian Pacific region. The recent growth in oil consumption, combined with forecasts of increased oil imports (especially from the Middle East), have led to deep concern among Chinese leaders regarding their country’s energy security. They are responding in a number of different ways. In particular, they are determined to increase the security and reliability of oil imports by searching for new sources of supply, and to control purchases and transport lanes, while boosting national production at any cost. This is already causing tension and could lead to further disputes with the US and other big oil consumers, such as Japan and India, as well as with other Asian Pacific countries. However, enhanced cooperation among the big East Asian economies (China, Japan and South Korea) is also a possibility.