WASHINGTON DC (October 26, 2021) – The Institute for Energy Research has released a new report examining China’s aggressive pursuit of resources in the South China Sea. As the United States has engaged in unilateral energy disarmament, China has established a concerted policy to develop offshore oil and natural gas.

On October 21 in Shandong province, People’s Republic of China (PRC) President Xi Jinping said, “Oil energy construction is very significant to our country. As a major manufacturing power, China has to secure its energy supply in its own hands.”

China’s oil and gas appetite grows each year, including in 2020 when it was virtually the only country to increase its oil consumption, despite the covid-19 pandemic. In order to secure resources, the PRC has directed national oil companies to increase production.

A major component of this plan is to develop oil and natural gas resources in the South China Sea. Despite international rulings against its behavior in the region, China’s expansionary pursuits have only intensified in recent years, jeopardizing the shared global interest of a free and open Indo-Pacific.

As Jordan McGillis writes in this IER report, the PRC’s South China Sea endeavors are increasingly infringing upon the rightful claims of its littoral neighbors, including Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia, and Brunei.

Thomas Pyle, president of the Institute for Energy Research, issued the following statement along with the new report.

“China is our biggest global competitor. As we show in this report, it’s using oil and gas development as part of its climb to global power. This is critical information for Washington to digest, especially given the Biden administration’s disavowal of U.S. oil and gas resources.”

Read IER’s Report, Oil, Gas, and the South China Sea: How China’s Energy Expansionism Threatens a Free and Open Indo-Pacific

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