China News in brief
China to quadruple oil reserves
China's energy watchdog has revealed that China will increase its strategic oil reserves to 12 million tonnes by 2010 - equivalent to the country's oil imports for a month. Currently, China's oil reserves stand at 2-3 million tonnes.
Speaking at the US-China Oil and Gas Industry Forum in the US on 10 September, Chen Deming, vice-minister of the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), also said that the figure would rise to 3 months worth of imports by 2020. At the same event, Hu Weiping, section chief for oil and gas at NDRC, said China would not use its oil reserves to manipulate international oil prices.
Meanwhile, according to local media reports, the National Oil Reserve Centre - a new agency - is to be launched soon.
New standards to cut energy consumption
China is to introduce 22 industrial standards for high energy-consuming industries, including the steel, construction and petrochemical sectors, Sun Xiaokang, deputy director of the Standardisation Administration of China (SAC), has announced.Speaking at a national standardisation meeting in Nanchang, Sun said that the new standards, to be introduced within a year, will help eliminate inefficient equipment and reduce carbon emissions. There will be three benchmarks for each standard, he added. Companies must ensure that any new equipment the install at least conforms to the lowest set of standards. Firms will be allowed a period of time to meet the intermediate set of standards. Businesses that conform to the highest set of standards may receive awards or commendations from SAC.
Clampdown on corn ethanol
China's National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) has banned any new foreign investment in corn-based ethanol production. The commission's Guiding Principles in Corn Processing, released on 20 September, indicates that growth in industrial processing of corn is far outpacing growth in production and is now a threat to the food sector. Left unchecked, demand could exceed production by 2010.
The NDRC now says no new corn-based ethanol plants will be approved before 2010. Foreign investment in new projects or buyouts of domestic bioethanol producers are also banned. Approved ethanol processing plants will only be allowed to go ahead if work to build them has already started. The NDRC suspended applications for corn ethanol projects in late 2006.