Tuesday, December 4, 2012




China accounts for more than 20% of the world's global energy demand. As it is known, the Middle Kingdom surpassed the U.S. to become the world's biggest energy consumer in 2009. Today the race is still neck and neck. And if the market has grave concerns over slower growth in China, somebody might want to tell China that..China's growth is the main reason the country is so interested in securing its future energy supplies. Luckily, China's real targets are much closer to home. It was seen how quickly they were catching up to U.S. oil consumption.

Do you think China is dumb enough to trust in OPEC to keep them well supplied? Can Chinese really expect them to continue getting gouged by Russian fuel exports? The answer to both these questions is a resounding 'No.'
China's Energy Race Heats Up: To say that China is buying up the future energy supplies would be a gross understatement. Over the last few years, I have seen this time and again through their strong merger and acquisition activities. Things are heating up with two of China's latest deals: CNOOC's $15.1 billion buyout of Nexen and Sinopec shelling out $1.5 billion for Talisman Energy's stake in the North Sea. Hey, if you can't beat 'em, just throw a lot of money around.  What's interesting here isn't so much the amount of cash that China spent, but rather where they're spending it... Not only are they dishing out billions of dollars in the North American shale boom — but they're more than willing to go anywhere for these resources. In one fell swoop, CNOOC picked up operations in the North Sea (Nexen was one of the leading producers in the UK North Sea), the Canadian oil sands, and the rich shale gas resources in British Columbia. I have known for a long time this deal was in the making. China's newly acquired operations in British Columbia's Horn River Basin is a precursor for the LNG exports that will soon be sent across the Pacific. So, what's next on China's agenda? China will secure South China Sea for gas discovery.

Here's a little-known fact about these buyouts: Sometimes it's not just the new oil fields the buyers are after. Truth is the Chinese are also benefiting by gaining access to the technology being used to reach these new oil resources. Take their interest in the various U.S. shale plays, for instance. The real prize isn't production, but rather learning how to extract the oil and gas from the shale formations.
It is no coincidence the Chinese are spending billions of dollars here while trillions of cubic feet of natural gas lie trapped in Asian soil. The next leg of this energy race may not come from new, huge oil field discoveries — but rather from pumping oil it is already known to be there. Don't forget that conventional drilling methods can only produce a small percentage of the total resource. (In the United States alone, there's an estimated 430 billion barrels that are still obtainable.)

China's huge thirst for shale gas, a new way to transport gas. Why the U.S. will remain the top spot for shale…China's thirst for natural gas around the world continues unabated. As I have shared before… the U.S. is producing incredible volumes of natural gas… Once she starts exporting her massive new supplies, the market for natural gas will become a global one – with consistent global prices – just like the oil market. And it looks like China will become one of the largest customers. China's liquefied natural gas (LNG) imports could make up 35% of its needs by 2015.

According to contracts already in place, China could purchase as much as 93 billion cubic meters (bcm) of natural gas in 2015. China's economic planning agency, the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), estimates the country's domestic production will equal 176 bcm by the same year. [That number is likely high, more on than reported). The NDRC says consumption will increase 20 bcm every year to 230 bcm by 2015.

Natural gas represents only 4.6% of China's current energy consumption. That is far below the global average of 24%. China's government has pledged to increase the natural gas share to 10% by the year 2020. Through the end of Mid November [the most recent available figures]… China had spent $6.9 billion on gas supplies via pipeline from Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. It spent another $6.6 billion on LNG shipments – the majority of which arrives from Qatar and Australia.

And a report from petroleum giant BP estimates China accounted for around 22% of Asia-Pacific gas consumption and about 4% of global demand. China's demand for natural gas will grow to massive proportions over the coming decades. And it's not the only Asian giant with a thirst for gas… India is the second-most populous country on the planet. Today, gas only makes up 7% of its energy consumption. (Again, the global average is 24%.) And India only produces about one-third of what it consumes.

The biggest boon for China will be the technology to produce the billions of barrels that are currently unattainable using today's techniques...Just imagine what will happen when China catches wind of this technology and starts digging around in its deep pockets of Asia, East Africa and USA. Happy investing with Chinese oil companies. I am bullish on China's energy needs.

Disclaimer: This is just a research piece and not an investment advice. All financial transactions carry risk. 

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