China will consume 71% more energy by 2035, according to BP’s recently updated forecasts for the energy sector. While BP projects that energy production in China will rise by 61% in the same time frame, this will not be enough to meet China’s needs because its current capacity is already small. This means that China will take a larger share of global energy demand - up from 22% to 27% - and will become more dependent on imported energy, which will
Fast Growth Expected in Energy Output from Nuclear & Natural Gas Sources
China’s overall demand for energy will grow 71% by 2035 and BP’s forecast show that this will be most keenly felt by growth in demand for energy from nuclear (up 1047%), gas (322%), oil (76%) and hydroelectric (57%) power sources.
Fossil Fuels Will Still Dominate, Accounting for 82% of China's Energy Mix in 2035
Despite the increase in supply from renewables, fossil fuels will account for 82% of China’s energy mix, down from 93% in 2014. Coal will continue to dominate, counting for 52% of China’s energy mix in 2035, with oil making up 18% of energy and gas 12%.
2035: 935 Million Tonne 'Energy Gap' and Dependence on Energy Imports
China won’t be able to meet this demand through domestic sources, even though domestic production is expected to grow 61%. Domestic production will grow but will not be enough to meet total demand and China will face an ‘energy gap’ of 935 million tonnes, compared with 420 million tonnes in 2014.
As such, China will become even more dependent on overseas energy sources. BP forecasts that China will depend on outside sources for 76% of total oil consumed in 2035, compared to 57% in 2012. Dependence on imported gas as a percentage of total consumed will grow to 41% from 25%. China will become the largest oil consumer by 2027 and the second largest gas consumer (behind the US) by 2025.
China to Ratchet Up 'Energy Diplomacy' and Energy Infrastructure Projects
Aside from a relatively solid outlook for China’s potential as a energy customer, this outlook has particular ramifications for China’s relations with its neighbours in the Asia-Pacific region and the global economy.
Specifically, China will continue to pursue an aggressive ‘energy diplomacy’ policy, which it has followed in recent years with alliances with oil producers in the Middle East, Africa and South America.
Also, China will aggressively pursue infrastructure projects across the world to provide and secure the supply lines necessary to meet its energy needs, recent examples of which include its plans for the Nicaragua Canal, rail links to Thailand and Myanmar and gas and oil pipelines linked to Russia and Central Asia.