To slake its thirst for oil, China scours backwaters of the world – William Mellor and Le-Min Lim

From the International Herald Tribune:

In a steamy jungle clearing in , a lone drilling rig topped by limp red flags bears testimony to China’s insatiable thirst for .

A century ago, the British firm Burmah Oil made a fortune for its shareholders from oil fields that lie beneath the teak forests and golden- spired Buddhist pagodas of the country formerly known as Burma. In its successor state, Myanmar – a military dictatorship under Western economic sanctions – there is little hope of striking another gusher, said Ma Guiming, a stocky project leader for China National Petroleum.

“Gou qiang,” Ma said of the search for oil, using a Beijing slang term that literally means it will be chokingly difficult. “But we have no choice. This is something we have to do.”

As recently as 1992, China was self- sufficient in oil. Today, the world’s most-populous country is importing 40 percent of its needs – a figure that will rise to 75 percent by 2025, the U.S. Department of Energy predicts. [Full text]

See also “India, China work out new energy synergies” from Asia Times.

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