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 gas, yet these plans have been marred by turmoil within OPEC+ and the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, which have led to a collapse in global oil prices. This paper will discuss the Chinese majors’ response to this double challenge, as they also take into account their political and economics responsibilities. How will they juggle energy security and profitability and what will this mean for their production and expenditures? The paper will examine lessons from previous price collapses and assess how the majors will review their portfolio development.


By: Zhe (Sheryl) Ruan