Economy strong on sound track
By Jian Er
great energy demands to fuel its dramatic economic expansion were
in the spotlight at the Seventh China Daily CEO Roundtable Conference
themed "China: 2005 and beyond," which was jointly organized
by China Daily and the Asia News Network (ANN).
the conference held on Friday, keynote speaker David Li, chairman
and chief executive of the Bank of East Asia, said that energy,
together with currency, domestic interest rates and the cross-Straits
tension, were the four major factors that would have the greatest
bearing on the future development of the mainland.
representatives from various industries ranging from property,
information and technology and academics to financiers were bullish
about the economic prospects of China. They agreed that energy
security is a primary issue for China, given the country's soaring
energy consumption as well as its increased reliance on imported
energy demand rising in step with China's remarkable economic
growth, China now must deal with the hard truth it faces a widening
energy deficit," Li said in his opening remarks.
said China was still a net exporter of oil as recently as 1995,
but the country had surpassed Japan to become the world's second
largest oil importer in the past two years.
addition, China's growth in primary energy demand among the four
most energy intensive nations China, the United States, Japan
and Russia has doubled over the past 18 years. The Energy Information
Administration, a unit of the US Department of Energy, predicts
China's demand for energy will double again by 2020.
problem for China is not only the reality that demand for energy
is far greater than the country's domestic supply, Li said, but
also the fact that China is only a minor player in the international
oil and gas exploration and production industry.
China's own oil companies are unlikely to improve the country's
energy security through drilling alone, and buying proven oil
reserves is an expensive way to guarantee energy security.
the above disadvantages combined have put China in a very vulnerable
position as it relies on foreign sources for an ever greater share
of its energy needs, Li said.
address the problem of energy shortages and increase sources of
supply, Li said China has pursued a multi-pronged approach including
turning to natural gas imports and building pipeline projects
as well as developing other sources of energy such as hydro-electricity
and nuclear power.
example, China expects natural gas, an energy alternative superior
to coal from an environmental point of view, will account for
10 per cent of the country's energy demand in 2020, up from the
current 2.5 per cent.
government aims to accomplish growing demand of natural gas through
its own reserves and imports as well as building gas pipelines
with other countries.