'China's National Oil Companies Prepare for the Energy Transition’ – expert comment from Dr Erica Downs

Published on 5 November 2021

China’s National Oil Companies (NOCs) play a vital yet under-appreciated role in the global energy system, securing oil and natural gas resources for import to the country from around the world.

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Clockwise from left Dr Rahmi Kopar, Dr Erica Downs, Dr Janet Xuanli Liao

In 2020, China imported more than 70% of the crude oil and 40% of the natural gas it consumed respectively. Due to this external dependence, energy security is a top priority for China.

Dr. Erica Downs holds a PhD and an MA from Princeton University and is a Senior Research Scholar at the Center on Global Energy Policy at Columbia University School of International and Public Affairs, focusing on Chinese Energy Markets and Geopolitics.

On 20 October 2021, the University of Dundee’s Centre for Energy, Petroleum & Mineral Law and Policy (CEPMLP) had the great pleasure of hosting her guest lecture, delivered to our staff and students, on the Preparation of China’s NOCs for the Energy Transition.

Dr Rahmi Kopar was the lecture’s Chair, and Dr. Janet Xuanli Liao was its Discussant (both CEPMLP).

Dr Down’s September 2021 open access published report, “Green Giants? China’s National Oil Companies Prepare for the Energy Transition” states (p5) that it “provides a baseline for understanding how China’s NOCs are responding to climate change. It examines the activities the three companies identified as part of their emerging energy transition strategies before Xi unveiled the carbon peaking and carbon neutrality targets, and why they didn’t do more. The report then assesses the implications of China’s new climate ambitions for its NOCs and lays out their preparations to date for supporting Xi’s 2030 and 2060 pledges.”


Press Office, University of Dundee