China Energy Programme

OIES is proud to launch its China Energy Reseach Programme, 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 will delve into these developments and offer insights into the factors that inform China’s energy policies and choices.

Research will be structured around three main themes:

  • Macro the programme will analyse 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 will also monitor short term developments in the oil and gas markets in China. It will assess how China is shaping short term prices and market sentiment and will consider Beijing’s efforts to establish pricing hubs and become an active price maker.

Programme Sponsors

  • BP
  • Energy Aspects
  • Equinor
  • 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

  • China’s Natural Gas Development Report – Reality Check

    China recently released its Natural Gas Development Report for 2019, a document which sets outs its plans for the sector in the years ahead.  The past two years of stellar gas demand growth have framed a narrative, at least in western markets, that China’s future demand growth will remain in double-digit percentage rates and be […]

    By: Stephen O'Sullivan

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  • Four misconceptions about China’s oil demand in 2019

    In 2019, markets were bracing for a slowdown in China’s oil product demand growth, but grappling to quantify it given the uncertainty surrounding the US-China trade negotiations. At the same time, with the start of two new mega-refineries, markets were expecting strong crude demand, alongside a deluge of product output and exports. In this comment, […]

    By: Michal Meidan

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  • Sanctions, Shipping, and Oil Markets

    In just over a week, the theoretical cost of taking a barrel of oil from the Gulf to Asia, in the cheapest possible way, rose by $6 per barrel. At a time when refinery margins are in single digits, this is a major blow to refinery profitability. The US administration’s decision to sanction two subsidiaries […]

    By: Adi Imsirovic Michal Meidan

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Latest research from the China Energy Research Programme

  • China drive for self-sufficiency in petrochemicals and its implications for global petrochemicals

    China is the most important petrochemicals market in the world due to the volume of its demand growth. The scale of consumption is such that today several petrochemicals remain in major deficit in China – such as paraxylene, to make polyester, and styrene, which makes a range of plastics. But because of China’s more vulnerable […]

    By: John Richardson

  • Outlook for China’s gas balances

    China’s gas demand has surged on the back of the government’s coal-to-gas switching policy, leading China to absorb an incremental 17 bcm of LNG in both 2017 and 2018. While Beijing remains committed to its environmental targets, the economic slowdown is set to adversely impact industry—currently the largest gas consumer in China—reducing industrial users’ gas […]

    By: Michal Meidan

  • Can Chinese refiners capitalise on IMO 2020?

    This paper will analyse the impact of the IMO low sulphur fuel cap, which comes into effect on 1 January 2020, on China’s refining industry, including Chinese refiners’ ability to absorb high sulphur fuel oil (HSFO) and produce IMO-compliant bunkering fuels. The new IMO regulations aim to cut the sulphur content of marine bunker fuels […]

    By: Michal Meidan