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Prof. ST Hsieh

Director, US-China Energy Industry Forum

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November 7, 2022

Chinese energy giants sign deals worth $66b at CIIE, offering huge opportunities for global firms

By GT staff reportersPublished: Nov 07, 2022 08:53 PM

Chinese companies have so far signed contracts worth at least $69 billion with global energy giants to buy products related to the energy sector, ranging from oil to rubber, at the 5th China International Import Expo (CIIE) in Shanghai, according to information obtained by the Global Times and media reports.

At the major import expo, China’s “three oil barrels,” a nickname for three state-owned energy giants – China National Petroleum Corp (CNPC), China Petroleum and Chemical Corp (Sinopec) and China National Offshore Oil Corp (CNOOC) – have signed purchasing contracts worth more than 480.9 billion yuan ($66.53 billion), according to news portal jiemian.com.

According to a report sent by CNOOC to the Global Times, the company has signed import contracts and agreements with 18 global suppliers at the 5th CIIE, with the value reaching a new high.

Although CNOOC didn’t disclose the exact amount, the company said during last year’s CIIE that the value of deals signed in the past four CIIEs exceeded $40 billion.

CNPC signed 30 contracts with 30 global companies that amount to about $16.8 billion. The products include crude oil, rubber and oil pipes, the jiemian.com report noted. 

Sinopec has signed procurement contracts worth about $40 billion with 34 global companies, purchasing 26 categories of products including oil and chemicals.

According to media reports, the three oil giants signed contracts worth about $97 billion at the fourth CIIE, with Sinopec’s contracts worth $41.5 billion and CNPC’s valued at about $15.5 billion.

Other domestic energy companies are also signing deals. China Energy Investment Corp signed contracts of about $2.5 billion with 40 companies from 18 countries and regions, up 38 percent from the previous CIIE. 

It bought coal, high-end equipment and other goods from supplies in countries such as Russia, Germany and the US, according to media reports. 

Subsidiaries of State Power Investment Corp signed contracts worth about $458 million with 13 international companies, including fuel components and technical equipment. It signed contracts worth about $250 million to import coal to help guarantee supplies for this winter and next spring.  

China is ramping up energy imports, such as coal, to guarantee energy supplies amid an economic recovery, while pushing for a transition to green, sustainable energy. In both cases, the deals offer a lot of business opportunities for international giants. 

Companies see abundant opportunities in China’s drive to achieve carbon neutrality, which will mean a lot of demand for related products and services, they said. 

“China’s progress in clean energy has been very fast from technological reserves to resource layout under the carbon policies. We also believe what industrial forecasts say – that China’s green hydrogen market will account for about half of the world’s total by 2030. With such a large market, we of course will participate actively,” Harold Tian, head of technology, innovation and sustainability for China at German-based thyssenkrupp China, told the Global Times on Monday.

Tian said that China’s large market will nurture the most advanced technologies, and the company wants to push technological development by entering the Chinese market and joining the competition. 

Will Li, president of Linde Greater China, mentioned several sectors where there are opportunities as a result of China’s low-carbon pursuit. For example, the rapid development of new-energy vehicles has a great influence on the lithium battery and new materials industries, and these are very important engines for the company’s growth in China, Li said. 

Li told the Global Times that China is researching technologies like chips, fitting well with some of the company’s products and services like specialty gases. This will be one of the company’s strong growth points, as it could contribute to the country’s electronics industry’s development in the next five to 20 years.

Yin Zheng, executive vice president of Schneider Electric and president of Schneider Electric China, also told the Global Times that China’s industrial sector faces a dual transformation of decarbonization and digitalization, which offers huge market potential and cultivates new momentum for development. 

The company’s exhibits at the 5th CIIE focus on innovative solutions like software, which represents digital technologies and ecosystems for sustainability.

Experts noted that China’s energy trade has demonstrated the features of “dynamic balance” with both strong supply (exports) and demand (imports).

“The situation of China relying on imports for strategic energy and balanced new-energy imports and exports is expected to last for a relatively long period, as the global energy security situation is still unclear,” Chen Jia, an independent research fellow on international strategy, told the Global Times on Monday.

If global energy security risks intensify, China’s import volume of global strategic energy might surge further, including fossil energy and new-energy materials like rare earths and lithium, Chen said.

At the fifth CIIE, chairman of CNPC Dai Houliang delivered a speech that stressed the coordination of China’s energy security and energy transformation, as well as its importance. 

He said that adhering to green development, expanding openness and cooperation, and safeguarding the security of energy supplies are common tasks for the current and future periods, according to eeo.com.cn.

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