China Lifts Restrictions On Foreign Energy Investment

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By Tsvetana Paraskova

China has lifted restrictions on foreign investments in all energy sectors, including fossil fuels, new energy sources, and electricity generation excluding nuclear power, the country’s State Council Information Office said in a white paper published on Monday.

The paper, ‘Energy in China’s New Era’, discussed the steps the world’s largest oil importer has taken to reform access of foreign companies to its energy industry, saying that “Market access for foreign capital in the energy sector has been extended, private investment is growing, and investment entities have become more diverse.”

“China has accelerated reforms such as the deregulation of the oil and gas exploration market and the circulation of mining rights, reform of the pipeline network operation mechanism, and the dynamic management of crude oil imports,” the Chinese government said in the white paper.

In 2019, China lifted restrictions on foreign investment in oil and natural gas exploration and production, opening its oil and gas sector to foreign participation without a requirement to form joint ventures with local companies. The government also removed last year the access restrictions to construction and operation of pipeline networks for gas and heat supply in cities with a population of more than 500,000 residents.

The country is now promoting the energy industry in pilot free trade zones such as Guangdong, Hubei, Chongqing, and Hainan, and supports further opening up of the entire oil and gas industry in the China (Zhejiang) Pilot Free Trade Zone.

China, a major importer of natural gas, is also looking to attract investments in shale gas developments by easing restrictions on foreign entities and subsidizing costs in a bid to boost its natural gas production while its demand continues to grow.

Faced with rising natural gas and liquefied natural gas (LNG) imports to meet growing demand, China is trying to raise its domestic gas production, including by setting up incentives for shale gas and coalbed methane production.

By Tsvetana Paraskova for



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