China is rolling out a new timetable for the building of it oil reserves, vice minister Lu Deming (ÈôàÂæ∑Èì≠) of the National Development and Reform Commission said while attending a China-US oil and gas industry forum in the United States on Sept. 11. China will quadruple its current oil reserve level in three years, from 2-3 million tons to 12 million tons by 2010, which experts say will have a milestone significance to China’s energy security.
Lu says the 2010 target, equivalent to China’s one-month import volume, will still be short of the level suggested by the International Energy Agency for a three-month import volume, which will be reached by 2020.
China started building oil reserves based at four locations in 2003, respectively in Zhenhai (‘√ö√§C), Zhoushan (√®M√©R), Huangdao (√¢¬©¬µ‚à´) and Dalian (√´√Ç¬°¬®). Two of these locations, Zhenhai and Zhoushan, have been completed and started to receive oil injections last year and earlier this year. Huangdao, which is located in Qingdao, will begin operations by the end of 2008 with a volume of 3 million cubic meters.
But these oil reserve bases are just one step among a “5,000-kilometer long march” in China’s energy strategy, according to Deng Yusong (¬µ√Ä√†√ã√®¬∫), a deputy director of market economy research institute under the State Council Research Center, a government think-tank. China has a lot more to do, such as oil reserve legislation, sourcing of oil purchases and zoning of new reserve bases and designing a reserve scale hat meets China’s energy needs, Deng says.
At the US forum, vice minister Lu also called on the US government to work out a clear-cut policy on Chinese firms buying assets of US oil companies. In theory, US oil and gas assets could be good investment options for Chinese firms, given China’s surging trade surplus. But he notes that it’s not clear whether US is interested in its domestic assets being bought by Chinese firms. Lu also expressed interest in cooperation with the US in oil and gas exploration, refinery, chemicals, energy efficiency and nuclear and renewable energy sources. [Full Text in Chinese]
[Image: an oil reserve base under construction, via Shanghai Securities Daily]