世界动荡加剧,中国能源如何实现可持续安全?
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In an Increasingly Tumultuous World, How Can China’s Energy Achieve Energy Sustainable Security?

世界动荡加剧,中国能源如何实现可持续安全?

A senior economist from the state-owned Sinochem conglomerate argues that in face of increasingly unstable geopolitical situation, China should increase its investments in renewable energy.


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The Yom Kippur War broke out in October 1973. Oil-exporting Arab nations imposed an oil embargo on Western countries which supported Israel, triggering the first global oil crisis. Oil prices skyrocketed, dealing a major blow to Western economies and causing society to fall into chaos. That oil embargo is the most well-known example of exporting countries using energy as a weapon.

1973年10月第四次中东战争爆发。阿拉伯石油输出国对支持以色列的西方国家实施石油禁运,引爆了第一次世界石油危机。油价暴涨,西方国家经济遭受沉重打击,社会陷入混乱。那一次石油禁运是出口国使用能源武器最为人熟知的事例。

In recent years, more and more “energy wars” have broken out around the world. However, it is no longer the energy-exporting countries that are wielding energy as a weapon, but the major importing countries of the West. They leverage their advantages and hegemony in global finance, logistics, and other fields to frequently and consciously use energy as a weapon to attack competitors, blocking energy exports by competitors. Obviously, these actions are nothing like the 1973 oil embargo. Nonetheless, such use of energy as a weapon similarly causes turmoil in the international energy market.

近些年来,“能源战争”在全球范围内出现得越来越多。然而,挥舞能源武器的已不再是能源出口国,而是西方进口大国,它们利用在全球金融、物流等领域的优势和霸权,频频有意识地使用能源武器来打击竞争对手,阻断竞争对手的能源出口。显然,这些和1973年石油禁运完全不同。尽管如此,此类能源武器的使用同样导致国际能源市场的动荡。

China is already the world’s largest importer of oil, natural gas, and coal. The outbreak and continuation of energy wars have seriously harmed China’s energy economic interests and formed a challenge to China’s sustainable energy security. How should the Chinese government, enterprises, and society respond?

中国已是世界第一大石油、天然气和煤炭进口国。能源战争的爆发和延续严重地伤害了中国的能源经济利益,并对中国可持续能源安全形成挑战。中国政府、企业和社会需要如何应对呢?

Rough Seas of Global Energy

世界能源涛汹浪险

In an ideal world, the rise and fall of energy prices and market ups and downs would be entirely determined by the “invisible hand” of the market. However, energy is an important material basis for the normal operation of human society, and energy commodities often have a political aspect. In recent years, some major powers have become increasingly enamored with using oil and gas as a weapon to achieve their strategic goals, making the strategic nature of oil and gas more pronounced. The international oil and gas market is in the grip of political forces, with heightened volatility and overall tension.

在理想情况下,能源价格涨跌、市况起落完全由市场“看不见的手”决定。然而,能源是人类社会正常运转的重要物质基础,能源商品常常具有政治性。而近些年来某些大国越来越热衷于以油气为武器来达到其战略目的,导致油气的战略性变强。国际油气市场受到政治力量的裹挟,波动加剧,而且总体紧张。

In response to climate change, the international community has become determined to reduce fossil fuel consumption. However, due to complex economic and technical reasons and the influence of path dependence, for a long time to come, global oil and gas consumption will not decline. On the contrary, it will increase significantly.

为了应对气候变化,国际社会已决心减少化石能源消费。但是,由于复杂的经济、技术原因以及路径依赖的影响,世界油气消费量在今后较长时间内不仅不会下降,反而会明显增加。

On the other hand, the maneuvering of great powers and the intensification of geopolitical tensions are causing increasing damage to the world’s oil and gas supply.

另一方面,大国博弈和地缘政治角力加剧,正对世界油气供应造成越来越大破坏。

For example, major oil and gas countries such as Russia, Iran, and Venezuela are currently subject to Western sanctions, which has a significant impact on the global oil and gas market.

比如,目前俄罗斯、伊朗和委内瑞拉等油气大国正遭受西方制裁,这对世界油气市场影响重大。

Iran and Venezuela would be the world’s largest oil producers and exporters. But due to reasons such as long-standing energy sanctions from the United States and other countries, their oil production and export volumes have been greatly reduced. After the Islamic Revolution broke out in Iran in 1978, Iran was hit with sanctions from Western countries led by the United States. On July 14, 2015, after years of negotiations, Iran and the United States, Russia, China, the United Kingdom, France, and Germany finally signed the Iran nuclear agreement. Iran promised to abandon its nuclear weapons program in exchange for the lifting of oil, financial, and other sanctions imposed on it by the United States and other Western countries. However, in May 2018, Trump announced the withdrawal of the United States from the nuclear agreement, and Iran’s oil exports were again subject to sanctions, which continue to the present day. Iranian oil exports are estimated to have dropped by about 2 million barrels a day due to the sanctions.

伊朗和委内瑞拉本是全球最大的石油生产和出口大国。但是由于长期遭受美国等国的能源制裁等原因,它们的石油生产和出口量大幅缩减。1978年伊朗伊斯兰革命爆发后,伊朗开始遭受以美国为首的西方国家的制裁。2015年7月14日,伊朗与美国、俄罗斯、中国、英国、法国和德国六大国在经过多年谈判后,终于签署了伊朗核协议。伊朗承诺放弃核武器计划,换取美国等西方国家解除对它的石油、金融等制裁。但是,2018年5月,特朗普宣布美国退出核协议,伊朗石油出口再次遭受制裁,并且一直延续至今。因为制裁,伊朗石油日均出口量估计减少了大约200万桶。

Venezuela can “feel the pain” of Iran. Though Venezuela has the largest oil reserves in the world, since 1999, due to reasons such as sanctions from Western countries led by the United States, Venezuela’s oil output and export volume have contracted sharply. According to OPEC data, in January 2001, Venezuela’s daily crude oil output was 3.02 million barrels, while in January 2022 it was only 670,000 barrels, a decrease of 2.35 million barrels.

与伊朗“同病相怜”的是委内瑞拉。委内瑞拉虽然坐拥全球最多的石油储藏,但是从1999年至今,由于受到以美国为首的西方国家的制裁等原因,委内瑞拉的石油产量和出口量大幅萎缩。根据欧佩克的数据,2001年1月,委内瑞拉的原油日产量为302万桶,而2022年1月仅为67万桶,减少了235万桶。

It can be conservatively estimated that, due to the sanctions imposed by the United States and other Western countries, the crude oil exports of Iran and Venezuela have dropped by more than 4 million barrels per day, which is equivalent to about 1/10 of the global crude oil trade volume.

保守估计,因美国等西方国家的制裁,伊、委两国的原油出口量合起来下降了400万桶/日以上,这大约相当于世界原油贸易量的1/10。

Russia has a vast territory and abundant resources. Its importance in the global supply of energy, industrial metals, agricultural products, and other commodities far exceeds that of Iran and Venezuela. When it comes to fossil fuel, Russia is the world champion in all areas. The possibility of sanctions on Russian energy exports has created a hurricane in the global energy industry.

俄罗斯地大物博,其在全球能源、工业金属、农产品等大宗商品供应方面的重要性远远超过伊、委两国。在化石能源方面,俄罗斯是世界全能冠军。俄罗斯能源出口受制裁的可能性已在全球能源业掀起一场飓风。

Looking at individual items, Russia’s energy data ranks among the best in the world in many respects. According to data from BP, as of the end of 2020, Russia’s oil, gas and coal reserves ranked among the top in the world: Russian proven natural gas reserves are 37.4 trillion cubic meters, accounting for 20% of global reserves, ranking first in the world; Russian proven coal reserves are 162.2 billion tons, accounting for about 15% of global reserves, ranking second after the United States; and Russian proven oil reserves are 107.8 billion tons, accounting for 6.2% of the world’s total, ranking sixth in the world.

分项来看,俄罗斯能源多方面数据在全球名列前茅。BP数据显示,截至2020年底,俄罗斯的油气煤储量都居世界前列:天然气探明储量为37.4万亿立方米,占全球储量的20%,位居全球榜首;煤炭探明储量为1,622亿吨,占全球储量的15%左右,位居第二,仅次于美国;石油探明储量为1,078亿吨,占世界总量的6.2%,居全球第六位。

In terms of production, Russia is the world’s second-largest oil and gas producer and sixth-largest coal producer. In 2020, Russia’s oil, gas, and coal production were 524 million tons, 638.5 billion cubic meters, and 400 million tons, respectively, accounting for 12.6%, 16.6%, and 5.2% of the global total.

在生产方面,俄罗斯是世界第二大石油和天然气生产国、第六大产煤国。2020年,俄罗斯的油气煤产量分别为5.24亿吨、6,385亿立方米和4亿吨,全球占比分别是12.6%、16.6%和5.2%。

In terms of exports, Russia is the world’s largest exporter of natural gas, the second-largest exporter of oil, and the third-largest exporter of coal. In 2020, the export volume was 238.1 billion cubic meters of natural gas, 7.43 million barrels per day of oil, and 5.66 exajoules of coal, accounting for 25.3%, 11.4%, and 17.8% of the global total.

在出口方面,俄罗斯是全球第一大天然气出口国、第二大石油出口国和第三大煤炭出口国。2020年出口量分别为2,381亿立方米、743万桶/日和5.66艾焦耳,全球占比分别是25.3%、11.4%和17.8%。

The Importance of Russia in the Global Fossil Fuel Field

俄罗斯在世界化石能源领域的重要性

On February 27, 2022, the European Union, the United Kingdom, the United States, and Canada issued a joint statement announcing the prohibition of the use of the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT) system by some Russian banks. This will deal a major blow to Russia’s exports of various commodities. The Russian economy is heavily reliant on oil and gas exports. In 2021, the proportion of fuel and energy products in Russia’s export structure reached 54.3%. Oil and gas export revenue as a share of the Russian government’s budget revenue has declined in recent years, but it still remains as high as about 30%. Given their importance to the national economy, it will be difficult for Russia’s oil and gas exports to avoid altogether the impact of Western sanctions.

2022年2月27日,欧盟、英国、美国、加拿大发表共同声明,宣布禁止俄罗斯部分银行使用环球同业银行金融电讯协会(SWIFT)系统。这将对俄罗斯各类商品的出口造成重要打击。俄罗斯经济严重依赖油气出口。2021年,燃料和能源产品在俄罗斯出口结构中的比重达高达54.3%;油气出口收入在俄罗斯政府预算收入中的占比近年来虽然有所下降,但仍然高达30%左右。基于其对国民经济的重要性,俄罗斯油气出口将很难完全不受西方制裁的波及。

New Challenges Facing China’s Energy Security

中国能源安全遭遇新挑战

In 1993 and 1996, China became a net importer of petroleum and then of crude oil. Since then, the Chinese government and society have generally paid increasing attention to energy security. In order to ensure energy security, the Chinese government has done a lot of work and adopted a variety of safeguard measures. Among these, its internal measures have mainly included establishing and strengthening energy reserves, improving energy efficiency, and continuing to reform energy systems and mechanisms. Its external measures mainly include laying cross-border oil and gas pipelines, protecting domestic maritime energy transportation lines, investing in foreign oil and gas fields to fight for a share of oil and gas, and expanding the scale of energy trade with energy-exporting countries.

1993年和1996年,中国先后成为石油和原油净进口国。之后至今,中国政府和社会对能源安全总体上越来越重视。为了确保能源安全,中国政府已做了大量工作,采取了多种保障手段。其中对内手段主要包括建立和加强能源储备、提高能效、持续进行能源体制机制改革等。而对外手段主要包括铺设跨国进口油气管道、保护本国海上能源运输线、投资国外油气田以争取份额油气、扩大与能源出口国的能源贸易规模等。

In securing its external energy security, China has always emphasized not putting all its eggs in one basket and avoided excessive dependence on the Middle East. China believes that access to Middle Eastern oil and gas is subject to great uncertainty and that there are also uncontrollable military and security risks involved in transporting Middle Eastern oil and gas back to China.

在对外能源安全保障中,中国历来强调不把鸡蛋放在同一个篮子里,避免对中东的过度依赖。中国相信获取中东油气存在较大不确定性,而把中东油气运回国同样存在难以控制的军事和安全风险。

For these reasons, China emphasizes the simultaneous pursuit of land and sea [transportation lines]. Since the construction of the China-Kazakhstan oil pipeline in 2004, China has cooperated with neighboring countries, building multiple land-based oil and gas pipelines including the China-Central Asia oil and gas pipeline, the China-Russia oil pipeline, the “Power of Siberia” gas pipeline, and the China-Myanmar oil and gas pipeline. China has already formed four main strategic energy channels: the maritime, northeast (referring to the Sino-Russian oil and gas pipeline), northwest (referring to the China-Central Asia oil and gas pipeline), and southwest (referring to the China-Myanmar oil and gas pipeline) channels.

基于这些,中国强调海陆并举。从2004年开建中国—哈萨克斯坦输油管道至今,中国已与周边国家合作,建成了包括中国—中亚油气管道、中俄输油管道、“西伯利亚力量”输气管道、中缅油气管道在内的多条陆上油气管道。中国已经形成海上、东北方向(指中俄油气管道)、西北方向(指中国—中亚油气管道)和西南方向(指中缅油气管道)四大能源战略通道。

The Chinese government has expended a great deal of human, financial, and material resources to build strategic land-based energy channels with Russia and Central Asia. This was based on an important assumption: Russia and Central Asia are an unshakable energy rear area [translator’s note: as in the territory to the rear of a defending army, protected from the enemy]. However, judging from the recent events in Russia, Kazakhstan, and other countries, regarding these regions as our energy rear area is not always going to be completely safe.

中国政府花费大量人财物力,建设与俄罗斯和中亚之间的陆上能源战略通道,是基于一个重要假设:俄罗斯和中亚是难以撼动的能源大后方。但是,从近期俄罗斯、哈萨克斯坦等国发生的事情来看,把它们作为能源大后方,其实并非任何时候都万无一失。

China is the world’s largest energy consumer, accounting for more than 26% of global consumption. It is neither appropriate nor realistic to outsource our energy security to other countries. The fundamental path by which China can achieve energy security is necessarily self-centered. We must increase the domestic energy supply and continue to reduce energy dependence on external sources.

中国是全球最大能源消费国,全球占比超过26%,把能源安全外包给别国,既不应该,也不现实。中国实现能源安全的根本出路必须是以我为主,增加国内能源供应,持续降低能源对外依赖度。

Looking back, China’s overall external energy dependence has risen rapidly from 5.71% in 2000 to 18.07% in 2020. Specifically, our dependence on external sources of oil and natural gas is over 70% and 40% respectively.

回顾过去,中国能源的总体对外依赖度已经从2000年的5.71%快速上升至2020年的18.07%。其中石油和天然气的对外依赖度分别在70%和40%以上。

Although China has relatively abundant coal resources, with proven reserves ranking third in the world, since 2017 China has been the world’s largest coal importer. Under normal circumstances, a high degree of dependence on external sources for energy consumption is not a terrible situation to be in. But following a global energy crisis, countries whose energy consumption is highly dependent on imports may be faced with greater price risks or even supply disruption risks.

虽然国内煤炭资源量相对丰富,探明储量居世界第三,但是从2017年起,中国一直是全球最大的煤炭进口国。在正常情况下,能源消费对外依赖度高并不可怕。但是,当世界能源危机出现后,能源消费高度依赖进口的国家可能会遇到较大的价格风险甚至供应中断的风险。

The situation in Chinese food security can provide us with a positive source of reflection. Recently, the international grain market, like other commodity markets, has seen surging prices. For example, in the second week of March 2022, the price of wheat futures on the Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT) rose by 41%, setting a record for the highest weekly increase in history. The prices of corn, soybean, and other futures also rose sharply during the same period. In such a global context, domestic food prices will inevitably be affected. However, the Chinese government and people do not need to worry about food supply security, the reason being that China has a high rate of self-sufficiency in food, especially grains. The average domestic self-sufficiency rate across China’s three major grains, rice, wheat, and corn, is above 97%. In terms of food, the rice bowl is firmly in our own hands.

中国粮食安全的情况可以为我们提供一个正面的镜鉴。近期国际粮食市场和其他商品市场一样,风起云涌。比如,2022年3月第2周,美国芝加哥期货交易所(CBOT)小麦期货价格大涨41%,创历史最高单周涨幅纪录,同期玉米、大豆等期货价格也大幅上涨。在这样的全球大背景下,国内粮食价格也难免会受到影响。但是,中国政府和民众并不需要为粮食保供担心,原因在于中国的粮食尤其是口粮自给率很高。中国的三大口粮大米、小麦、玉米的国内自给率平均在97%以上。粮食的饭碗正牢牢地端在我们自己手里。

In October 2021, while inspecting Shengli Oilfield, General Secretary Xi Jinping pointed out that China, as a major manufacturing country, must hold the energy rice bowl in its own hands in order to develop the real economy. How can China’s energy sector successfully accomplish the tasks assigned by the General Secretary? The key is to reach deep to carry out a revolution in energy thinking, change track, and more vigorously develop domestic renewable energy.

2021年10月,习近平总书记在视察胜利油田时指出,中国作为制造业大国,要发展实体经济,能源的饭碗必须端在自己手里。中国能源界如何才能很好地完成总书记布置的任务呢?关键在于深入开展能源思想革命,转换轨道,更大力度地开发国内可再生能源。

Change Track and Strive to Achieve Sustainable Energy Security in China

转换轨道,努力实现中国能源可持续安全

Going forward, the basic idea for improving the level of assurance for China’s energy security should be to strengthen the development of domestic energy, especially renewable energy, and unswervingly promote sustainable energy security in China.

今后提升中国能源安全保障度的基本思路应该是加大国内能源尤其是可再生能源开发力度,坚定不移地推进我国能源可持续安全。

To achieve sustainable energy security in China, we need to do a great deal of in-depth and meticulous work. First, we need to speed up re-electrification, or in other words, carry out the large-scale replacement of coal power with renewable power, such as wind and solar power, and with nuclear power. Second, given that oil security is the soft underbelly of China’s energy security, the government, enterprises, and society need to work together to accelerate the replacement of oil in the fields of road transportation, aviation, and maritime navigation through the in-depth promotion of electrification and other measures. Moreover, to further develop the electrification of transportation, there’s a lot of work that must be done, including tackling the toughest problems of advanced battery technology, effectively controlling price and supply risks of energy metals such as nickel, aluminum, cobalt, manganese, and lithium, and having all local areas carry out in-depth economic and social institutional reforms.

要实现我国能源可持续安全,需要做大量深入、细致的工作。首先,需要加快推进再电气化,即大规模地用风光电等可再生电力和核电替代煤电。其次,鉴于石油安全是中国能源安全的软腹,政府、企业和社会需要共同发力,通过深入推进电气化等多种措施,加快石油在道路交通、航空航海等领域的被替代。而进一步发展交通运输电气化,必须做好的工作很多,包括啃下先进电池技术的硬骨头、有效控制镍、铝、钴、锰、锂等能源金属的价格和供应风险、各地方进行深入的经济、社会相关制度改革,等等。

To develop energy alternatives, we must also fully respect the economic reality. On the one hand, we need to enhance the attractiveness of new energy and continue to provide necessary subsidies for new energy consumption. On the other hand, we need to systematically sort out the direct and indirect subsidies provided by local governments for fossil fuel consumption and eliminate them in stages, gradually subject the negative externalities of fossil fuel consumption to taxes, and so on.

要发展能源替代,还要充分尊重经济现实,一方面需要增强新能源的吸引力,继续对新能源消费进行必要的补贴,另一方面应系统梳理出各地方政府针对化石能源消费的直接和间接补贴并分阶段取消、逐步对化石能源消费的负外部性征税等。

To date, the development of energy alternatives and the promotion of clean and low-carbon energy transformation have been seen as a politico-ethical issue of intergenerational fairness. However, the recent turbulence in the globalized fossil fuel field illustrates that energy transformation is no longer primarily a politico-ethical issue. It is also a major practical issue closely related to the survival, lives, and development of people right now. Moreover, the depth, breadth, and speed of China’s coming energy transformation will have a profound impact on the country’s economic, political, and military security.

发展能源替代,促进能源清洁低碳转型,迄今多被视为代际公平的政治道德问题。然而,最近世界化石能源领域涛汹浪险,表明能源转型已经不再主要是政治道德问题,它也是密切关系到当代人生存、生活和发展的重大现实问题。而今后中国能源转型的深度、广度和速度,将对国家经济、政治和军事安全造成深刻影响。

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Cite This Page

王海滨 (Wang Haibin) (2022). "In an Increasingly Tumultuous World, How Can China’s Energy Achieve Energy Sustainable Security? [世界动荡加剧,中国能源如何实现可持续安全?]". Interpret: China, Original work published March 16, 2022, https://interpret.csis.org/translations/in-an-increasingly-tumultuous-world-how-can-chinas-energy-achieve-energy-sustainable-security/

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