«A research undertaking by the Centre for Chinese Studies, prepared for the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) & Revenue Watch ...»
Once established, a fully ﬂedged Energy Ministry is expected to have the “functions of the NDRC, the State-Owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission (SASAC), the Ministry of Land and Natural Resources, the Ministry of Water Resources and the State Electricity Regulatory Commission (SERC), and would guide all state-owned energy conglomerates”.69 Many observers suggest the establishment of such a ministry is inevitable, but estimations vary as to when this could become a reality.
2.2 Research Institutions
Government research institutions regularly collaborate with one another and are playing an increasingly active role in both the identiﬁcation of problems and the development of solutions within the formulation of policy across a broad range of areas including energy.70 2.2.1 Development Research Centre of the State Council (DRC) The Development Research Centre of the State Council (DRC) is the primary research institution directly accountable to the State Council. It is a policy research institution that conducts
research on macro, strategic and long-term issues related to national economic and social development. It also provides policy suggestions and consulting advice to the CPC Central Committee and the State Council.71 The DRC is headed by Zhang Yutai at full ministerial level and is comprised of approximately 25 research departments, centres and institutes including the International Cooperation Department. The DRC’s Industry Department works particularly with energy issues and has for example conducted research in collaboration with the World Bank.
2.2.2 Energy Research Institute (ERI)
Among the key research institutions concerned with the formulation of energy policy is the Energy Research Institute (ERI) of the NDRC which employs approximately 70 researchers.72 ERI conducts energy policy research and provides important input – data, feasibility studies and reports – for the NDRC in formulating national energy policy. Two of its most inﬂuential research topics in recent years are “China’s medium to long term energy strategy” and “Structure of China’s national energy law”. ERI is an extremely broad research institution covering a broad range of issues with a particular focus on downstream production. It also advises NDRC on planning and strategies.73
2.2.3 The Chinese Academy of Science (CAS)
In addition to the above mentioned research institutions situated within various government institutions such the as DRC in the State Council and the ERI in the NDRC, there are a group of very large inﬂuential research institutions. One of them is the Chinese Academy of Science (CAS) was established in 1949. It is the leading scientiﬁc science and technology research institution in the country with 37,000 researchers working in over 70 different research institutes, including the Bureau of Science and Technology for Resources, Guangzhou Institute of Energy Conversion and the Environment and International Cooperation. CAS reports to the State Council and aims to establish platforms for research and development in science and technology in cooperation with domestic and international universities as well as research and commercialization institutions for technology and non-incorporated research units.
2.2.4 The Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS)
Another very prominent but broader research institution is the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS) which was established in May 1977. CASS is also directly under the State Council and is the highest academic research organization in the ﬁelds of humanities and social sciences with 32 research institutes, 3 research centres, a graduate school and over 3,000 full time researchers.74 CASS informs policy formulation particularly with regards to security policy, of which energy forms an important part. Professor Yang Guang, Director of the CASS’ Institute of West Asian and African Studies (IWAAS), is as mentioned in section 2.2 a well published scholar on West Asian energy issues.
2.2.5 China’s Petroleum Universities
Among China’s 8,750 universities, there are a number focused exclusively on energy. The China University of Petroleum with campuses in Beijing and Shandong has 30,000 students;
the Daqing Petroleum Institute in the oilﬁelds of Heilongjiang in north western China has 20,000 © 2009 Centre for Chinese Studies, University of Stellenbosch; All rights reserved
- 15 students and the Southwest Petroleum Institute in Chengdu has 23,000 students. These institutions were initially established and operated by the CNPC and continue to have very close links to the petroleum corporations. Their staff maintains strong contacts with China’s major energy companies and regularly provides advice and expertise.
2.3 Public and private corporations
From the early 1950s, Chinese government ministries were established around particular heavy industries and the majority of energy production was conducted by government institutions.75 As government began to restructure ministries into corporations in the 1980s, company leaders fought to retain positions and maintain leverage over policymaking.76 In 1988, the Ministry of Petroleum was transformed into the China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) to manage upstream activities and Sinopec which was to manage downstream activities.77 As of today the relationship between energy companies and the government is loosening, although very gradually, and the energy sector remains subject to a very high level of state control and ownership both in upstream and downstream sectors.78 The corporations also have considerable expertise and access to signiﬁcant capital.79 The main Chinese companies collect dividends on the subsidiaries listed in Hong Kong and use these proﬁts to offset losses elsewhere.80 Houser suggests the “resulting accumulation of such undisciplined capital shapes the overseas investment strategies of these ﬁrms.”81 Zhao argues that China’s oil corporations exert inﬂuence on government to support them to go abroad in the name of energy security.82 Xu notes that the top managers of the corporations have the trust of the party and enjoy extensive personal networks with party and government ofﬁcials at the top levels of government, including the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China.83 Downs argues that the corporations have the capacity to advance corporate interests at the expense of national ones and cites several examples of oil and power generating companies reducing output to pressure the government to raise downstream prices which have fallen behind market-determined prices of crude oil and coal.84 Despite the Government’s desire for coordination, the ‘Three Giants’, CNPC, Sinopec and CNOOC, both cooperate and compete with each other, domestically as well as abroad.85 Competition amongst the energy companies has led to excessive investment in power generation and distribution causing inefﬁciencies and competition among regulators which has weakened the state’s ability to manage the energy sector.86 The disorganization of China’s energy bureaucracy stands in sharp contrast to the activism of its state-owned energy companies.87 Houser notes that the public listing of the subsidiaries of China’s ‘Three Giants’ on the Hong Kong stock exchange in 2000-2001 “added a new element of investor scrutiny and proﬁt discipline to China’s oil sector”.88 In terms of this, there are considerable differences between private companies and SOEs as well as between small and large companies. According to several well informed observers, the large Chinese petroleum companies consider themselves increasingly international and acknowledge the need to adhere to international norms, rules and procedures.89 © 2009 Centre for Chinese Studies, University of Stellenbosch; All rights reserved
- 16 A 1999 government regulation stipulates that only CNPC and Sinopec can engage in wholesale of oil products, and smaller private oil companies depend on them for supply. An anti-monopoly law (AML) from August 2008 has increased the possibilities of private oil companies to take judicial proceedings if the ‘Three Giants’ exercise monopoly practices. However, China’s energy sector remains largely dominated by the three state-owned ‘Giants’, outlined brieﬂy below.90
2.3.1 China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC)
CNPC is a state-owned energy company and China’s largest integrated oil and gas company.
Its businesses include oil and gas operations (both upstream and downstream), oilﬁeld services, engineering and construction, petroleum material and equipment manufacturing and supply, capital management, ﬁnance and insurance services as well as new energy operations. CNPC has oil and gas assets in 30 countries and its products are sold in 69 countries worldwide.
PetroChina Co. Ltd., CNPC's largest listed subsidiary, is responsible for CNPC's domestic operations in the areas of oil and gas exploration and development; oil reﬁning and petrochemical production; marketing; pipeline transportation; and natural gas sales and utilization. PetroChina was publicly listed respectively in Hong Kong and US New York in April 2000, with CNPC holding 90% of its shares.
CNPC’s global business is composed of three sectors:
Oil and gas operations: Oil and gas exploration development and production; construction of pipeline, storage and transportation facilities; natural gas marketing and liqueﬁed natural gas (LNG) projects; reﬁning, marketing, trading and transporting crude oil and oil products; as well as production of base chemicals, petrochemicals, and fertilizer.
Field services, engineering and construction: Geophysical prospecting, well drilling, well logging, ﬁeld surface engineering and pipeline construction.
Petroleum equipment: Manufacturing and supply of oil and gas exploration equipment, drilling and production equipment, storage and transportation equipment, reﬁning and chemical equipment and oilﬁeld chemicals.
2.3.2 Sinopec Sinopec is the largest energy and petrochemical company in China and the largest reﬁner and distributor of gasoline, diesel, jet fuel and most other major reﬁned products in China and in Asia.
It is also China’s second largest producer of crude oil and natural gas. The scope of its business includes oil and gas exploration and production; extraction, pipeline transmission and marketing;
oil reﬁning; production, marketing, storage and transportation of petrochemicals, chemical ﬁbres, chemical fertilizers and other chemical products; import/export agency of crude oil, natural gas, reﬁned oil products, petrochemicals, chemicals and other commodities and technologies; as well as research, development and application of technology and information. Sinopec Group, © 2009 Centre for Chinese Studies, University of Stellenbosch; All rights reserved
- 17 the largest shareholder of Sinopec Corporation, is a large petroleum and petrochemical group incorporated by the state in 1998 based on the former China Petrochemical Corporation. Funded by the state, it is a state authorized investment arm and state-owned controlling company.
2.3.3 China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC)
CNOOC is one of the largest state-owned oil companies in China and the largest offshore oil and gas producer with a total of 51,000 employees. It has six business sectors which include upstream, midstream and downstream oil and gas exploitation; technical services, chemical and fertilizer production; reﬁning, LNG and power generation; ﬁnancial services; as well as logistics and new energy development. CNOOC has four listed subsidiaries: CNOOC Ltd., China Oilﬁeld Services Ltd. (COSL), CNOOC Engineering Ltd., and China BlueChemicals. CNOOC Ltd. is the subsidiary of CNOOC engaged in exploration, development, production and marketing of offshore crude oil, natural gas and other petroleum products. At the end of 2006, CNOOC Ltd. had 50 oil and gas ﬁelds in production in 10 countries, 23 independently operated and 27 operated in partnership with international oil companies. It has approximately 3,000 employees.
2.4 Financial Institutions
The Chinese Government provides additional support for the National Oil Companies’ (NOC) direct overseas investments in accordance with the December 2007 White Paper on national energy strategy. The ﬁnancial aspect of such support is delivered in the form of development assistance.91 China Export Import (EXIM) Bank and China Development Bank (CDB) are the main institutions responsible for overseeing and administering this assistance.92 China EXIM Bank is ﬁnancing a large number of energy related projects around the world. It is also the primary Chinese bank active in Africa. According to China EXIM Bank’s loan criteria, projects funded by the bank are to be carried out by Chinese enterprises as contractors or exporters, and at least 50 percent of equipment, material and technology must be procured in China.93 However, this practice of ‘tied aid’ is certainly not unique to Chinese concessional ﬁnance. Sautman and Hairong notes that “[a]bout 80 per cent of US grants and contracts to developing countries must be used to buy goods and services from US ﬁrms and NGOs. Some 90 per cent of Italy’s aid beneﬁts Italian companies and experts; 60-65 per cent of Canada’s aid and much of that of Germany, Japan and France is tied to purchases from those states.”94 CDB functioned as a policy bank since its inception in 1994. However, on the 11th December 2008 the bank was converted and is currently a commercial bank jointly owned by Central Huijin Investment Company Limited and the Chinese Ministry of Finance. This change is an important part of China’s ﬁnancial reform, and was approved in February 2008 by the State Council.95 The Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) pledge of a US$ 5 billion fund for investment in Africa through the China-Africa Development Fund (CADFund) is currently being capitalised by CDB.
Moreover, the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) signed an agreement on the 18th March 2008 with South Africa’s Standard Bank to set up a US$ 1 billion commodities fund.
The fund will focus on certain investment opportunities in Africa and China, especially primary mining and energy industries.