Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Energy Security a Major Concern for China as Well

And you thought Energy Security was only something that keeps certain US officials up at night? The good news and the bad news is: we are not alone. Europe is increasingly being squeezed by Russia who, through the pseudo company Gazprom, can turn off the lights and heat in many major cities at (almost) a moment's notice. And now you can add China, with its formerly rapidly expanding and very energy intensive economy to the club:
Chinese security analysts fear that oil import dependency is a potential pressure point that could be exploited by future adversaries of the People’s Republic of China (PRC). Approximately 80 percent of China’s 3.3 million barrels per day (bpd) in crude oil imports passes through the Straits of Malacca. Such funneling could facilitate interdiction of China’s oil lifeline in times of crisis.
In "No Oil for the Lamps of China?" in the Naval Warfare College Review, Gabriel Collins and William Murray make it clear that China has ample cause to be concerned about keeping the oil routes open. Unlike the US, its ability to defend those lanes is far from mature. The paper also gets pretty detailed about how to perform an energy blockade of China, and what China's most likely responses would be. Very interesting reading about energy as an offensive and a defensive weapon.

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