China Energy Programme

Launched in 2019 the OIES China Energy Research Programme, is a center of analytical excellence offering insights into the factors that inform China’s energy policies and choices and their pivotal role in global energy markets.

China is the world’s second largest economy, biggest importer of crude oil, the fastest growing consumer of natural gas as well as the world’s top coal producer and emitter of CO2. The country is endowed with vast reserves of oil, gas and coal all of which it aims to develop in order to enhance its energy security, but, it is also seeking to spearhead a technological revolution in support of its energy transition. 

In light of its voracious appetite for energy, its domestic resource potential and its technological ambitions, the way in which China chooses to develop its domestic resource base, consume energy and engage with global markets is of extreme importance to producers, consumers and traders of energy. But the country’s command economy, alongside the dominance of state-owned companies still inform policy design and implementation and are key to understanding the evolution of China’s energy mix and markets.

The China Energy Programme at OIES delves into these developments and offers insights into the factors that inform China’s energy policies and choices.

Research is structured around three main themes:

  • Macro the programme analyses the macroeconomic and political environment in China: what are the government’s policy priorities and how do they impact energy demand? To what extent do the country’s political and governance frameworks help or hinder market liberalisation? How will the state of play between state owned incumbents and private and foreign companies evolve? How does China’s foreign policy relate to its energy goals?
  • Mix what will China’s energy transition mean for its energy mix? How does China think about peak coal and oil and what are the implications for gas consumption? Are the government’s environmental policies sustainable in a low growth environment? Can China replicate its PV success with EVs and more advanced technologies?
  • Markets the programme also monitors short term developments in the oil and gas markets in China. It assesses how China is shaping short term prices and market sentiment and also considers Beijing’s efforts to establish pricing hubs and become an active price maker.

Programme Sponsors

  • BP
  • Cheniere
  • Energy Aspects
  • Equinor
  • ExxonMobil
  • OMV
  • Oxford Economics
  • Saudi Aramco
  • Tellurian
  • Total
  • William Callanan

The Programme is grateful to its Sponsors for their support, without which its research would not be possible.

Research is carried out by the programme staff in close coordination with the other OIES programmes and in collaboration with leading researchers and institutes in China and the West. Research will be disseminated via a dedicated research paper series, energy comments, sponsors’ visits, and specialised events.

For information about the programme and questions, please email: Michal Meidan

Latest Publications from the China Energy Research Programme

  • Oxford Energy Podcast – China’s rocky road to recovery

    In this podcast, David Ledesma talks to Michal Meidan, Director of the China Energy Research Programme at the Institute, following the publication of her OIES Comment, “China’s rocky road to recovery”, which looks at China’s oil demand growth this year. The podcast also addresses some emerging trends in China’s natural gas market and discusses the […]

    By: OIES

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  • China’s rocky road to recovery

    After almost two months of a government-mandated lockdown to stem the spread of COVID-19, China is now gradually returning to work. With expectations of a looming government stimulus, all eyes are on China to support the recovery in oil markets. But China’s crude buying or oil demand may not be as strong as some are […]

    By: Michal Meidan

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  • Oxford Energy Podcast – Geopolitical shifts and China’s energy policy priorities

    In this podcast, David Ledesma interviews Michal Meidan, director of the China Energy Research Programme about the key takeaways from the programme’s inaugural ‘China Day’ workshop on ‘Geopolitical shifts and China’s energy policy priorities’. The workshop brings together programme sponsors alongside a number of experts to discuss some of the key trends in China and […]

    By: OIES

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Latest Ongoing Research from the China Energy Research Programme

  • Chinese majors’ responses to the collapse in global oil prices and the COVID-19 pandemic: perspectives from the upstream

    2020 is a pivotal year for China’s upstream sector. It is the final year of the 13th (Five Year Plan, FYP); the second year in the oil companies “Seven-Year Production Increase Plan”, and it is also the inaugural year of domestic upstream liberalization. All these plans are aimed at supporting domestic production of oil and […]

    By: Zhe (Sheryl) Ruan

  • The geopolitics of China’s energy transition 

    China’s emergence as a global economic power and energy consumer has shaped global energy production and trade flows. In the fossil fuel world, though, China was a technology follower and a price taker. In the energy transition, China is likely to play a vastly different role. Government-supported efforts to spur innovation have coincided with growing […]

    By: Michal Meidan

  • Demystifying China’s gasoline balances 

    Between 2008 and 2018, China’s gasoline demand doubled, from 1.5 mb/d to 3 mb/d, with gasoline alone accounting for over a third of the country’s total product demand growth. This was closely related to rising incomes and the phenomenal growth of China’s private car fleet. As a result, Chinese refiners and global markets are expecting […]

    By: Michal Meidan Gabriel Collins