The Geopolitics of Chinese Energy Security

Kelly Ogle

Abstract


One way of understanding the modern world is to view it as broken up into rival political and economic blocs that compete for resources and markets through political, economic, and military power. Today, governments of energy consuming nations worldwide are concerned about the security of their energy needs more so than at any other time since the oil crises of the 1970s. Additionally, issues such as environmental stewardship, corporate social responsibility, sustainability, and human rights are factors in the contemporary energy debate.
According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), in 2008 China produced 190 million metric tons (Mt) of oil, unfortunately the Chinese were net importers of 159 Mt of oil. What energy policies is China adopting to bridge this gap, and what does this mean for the United States? This paper examines various aspects and inter-relationships of energy security through a geopolitical lens, beginning with a discussion of the supply and demand of crude oil, and an attempt to understand energy security. It also places China in an evolving world energy matrix, examine China’s relationship with the United States and the future of Chinese/U.S energy and security policy concerns, and discusses the future of Chinese energy policy and security.

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JMSS is a publication of the Centre for Military, Security and Strategic Studies at the University of Calgary.

JMSS gratefully acknowledges the financial support of the Social Science and Humanities Research Council.