Balancing Act: China’s Energy Mix and Oil Market to 2030

China Shifts Gears

China, the most populous country with an economy second only to the U.S, is indeed shifting gears. Economic growth has slowed significantly and increasing instability in the financial markets (the recent volatility in the stock market is an example) hints at structural problems that may have more profound implications than just a slower economic growth rate. China’s new leadership faces the daunting task of bringing China to a new normal both economically and politically while avoiding the “middle-income trap” and continuing to play a larger role in global political and economic events.

Since energy demand is so closely tied to China’s economic performance, this period of transition is an interesting time to examine China’s energy sector and its outlook. One view is that the Chinese economy and energy demand will collapse; another view is that China will defy expectations and continue to have explosive energy demand growth. This study develops a third view. China’s energy use will be shaped by efforts to balance multiple economic, political and environmental objectives. The clearest way to see the balancing act and implications for energy is to look at how China’s energy mix will change and impact oil markets. In the next fifteen years, China will notably alter the relationships between coal, natural gas, renewables, and oil use and along the way, manage dramatic changes in its oil product markets. This study explains how China will do this, and focuses specifically on projecting demand for thirteen oil and alternative products to 2030.

China’s Energy Mix Projection to 2030

Balancing Act: China’s Energy Mix and Oil Market to 2030 is organized into five sections:

  1. Political and Economic Reforms Diverge
  2. China’s Energy Mix Reshuffling
  3. China’s Oil Product Demand Shifting Gears
  4. China’s Refinery Throughput and Product Balance Forecast
  5. Conclusions and Implications for Oil Markets

Appendix Tables provided in Excel with demand by sector for 13 Refined Products and Alternative Fuels

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