04 November 2009

China's Resource Grab

In the Financial Times today there is an interesting article on China's efforts to lock down fossil fuel supplies around the world.

Like Rahm Emanuel, the White House chief of staff, China’s energy planners do not want “a serious crisis to go to waste”.

The country’s big three state-owned oil companies – China National Petroleum Corporation, Sinopec and China National Offshore Oil Corporation – have been strongly encouraged to make use of the global downturn in order to expand.

The crisis “is equally a challenge and an opportunity”, Zhang Guobao, head of the national energy administration, said this year. “The slowdown ... has reduced the price of international energy resources and assets and favours our search for overseas resources.”

This is even more stark when compared with a news analysis in the same edition of the FT, titled, "Beijing has played climate cards beautifully," an argument that I have recently made as well. Things are shaping up whereby the US will again be branded the outlaw in international climate policy, while China quietly gobbles up more and more fossil fuel resources.


  1. ....While also spending enormous amounts of money on clean energy and meeting stringent energy efficiency targets. Likely they are just using up their toxic dollars on commodities that will gain in value rather than dumping them directly which would of course cause a dollar meltdown. You should actually be heartily thanking the Chinese. Confucius says - "Real knowledge is to know the extent of one's ignorance."

  2. Chinese foreign policy (both energy related and otherwise) is aggressively self-interested, but slow, steady and patient.

    US foreign policy, while also self-interested, is inconsistent, emotionally charged, and impatient.

    It is hard to imagine either of these characterizations changing in the next couple of decades.

    it is equally hard to imagine any outcome other than a long string of victories for the Chinese.

  3. While the USA is printing enough dollars to double the money supply, China is converting their dollars to oil and gold mines.

    While the USA is trying to pass a cap and trade law that will make energy more expensive, China is building new coal fueled power plants every week.

    While the USA is touting new hybrid cars that carry four people, for $40K, China is building gasoline powered cars that carry four people for $14K.

    While the USA has just nationalized the financial industry and major car companies, China is transforming to a capitalist economy.

    If this were a conspiracy movie with Julia Roberts, the plot would be panned as implausible. But as a comedy with Jim Carrey it would be hilarious.

  4. -3-Maurice,

    You offer some excellent (and very scary) points.

    The author of this commentary notes:

    "The average age of the world's greatest civilizations from the beginning of history has been about 200 years. During those 200 years, these nations always progressed through the following sequence:

    * From bondage to spiritual faith;
    * From spiritual faith to great courage;
    * From courage to liberty;
    * From liberty to abundance;
    * From abundance to complacency;
    * From complacency to apathy;
    * From apathy to dependence;
    * From dependence back into bondage.

    I think we're just about ready to fulfill the last line of this prediction, don't you?

    Brace yourselves, folks. We're in for a bumpy ride. Better learn how to roll over and play dead."

    I'm not a religious person. But, the author is -- regrettably -- absolutely correct.

    We have (MAYBE) this ONE chance to save our Republic. Honestly, I think the odds are heavily stacked against a good outcome. The government monopoly on the delivery of “education” will have been -- primarily -- what killed us.

    Then again, last night was encouraging.

  5. Is that supposed to be China's fault? The Chinese government is doing what a reponsible government should do to achieve its goal: diplomatic efforts, deals, contracts and mutually-agreed trade. That is a vast contrast to a certain nation which is engaged in multiple wars in the Middle East while stripping its citizens of civil liberty day by day.

  6. The Chicoms have also made a grab for the Spratly Islands – for the oil & gas there. These islands are off the coast of the Philippines, which claims them, as do several other states, including Vietnam and Malaysia. Chinese maps of China show a dotted boundary/border line that loops 800 miles south of the mainland between Vietnam and the Philippines to encompass these islands as sovereign territory. They have asserted their claim with warships.