Why is Coal Still the Preferred Option in Beijing Energy Production?

Of the many oil companies declaring their various projects that will help reduce emissions, one has many surprised: PetroChina Company (NYSE: PTR)

Unlike other oil companies in Europe and the U.S., China’s oil firms do not usually treat climate objectives as a serious issue that needs to be addressed. On top of that, Beijing, which is one of the most air polluted cities in the world, isn’t even planning on hitting its emissions peak until the year 2030.

It appears that not even the huge fund managers that have been calling for Western oil firms to further improve their carbon commitments in an attempt to help save the planet will not make a difference for China’s oil firms.

PetroChina’s declaration in its mid-year results that were released last week state that the company will strive towards near-zero targets for their emissions by the year 2050. This is unexpected, seeing the lack of enthusiasm in the past and now, China is preparing its 5-year plan that will determine if earth can steer clear of the destruction that is climate change. The announcement shows promise however and everyone is here for it.

In many countries, the main objective is to do away with completely or at best, minimize dependence on coal. Coal is the world’s largest and worst polluting of all fossil fuels. However, in China, it seems officials are more concerned with limiting oil imports instead of climate change, so the announcement might just be for the benefit of the few over the general population.

Looking at the company’s recent reports, we register an increase in gas production in China which was prompted by a government policy. The price paid was a hefty one though, seeing as a barrel goes for $21.74, which is reasonably higher than prices of major Western oil companies. This may be attributed to a decrease in output from China’s domestic oil wells.

Despite growth in demand between the years 2015-2019, China’s output from domestic oil wells fell by 11%. This led to an increase in the country’s crude oil imports, from 31% in 2002 to a whopping 72% in 2019, costing the nation about $220 billion.

Additionally, solid fuels, mainly coal, are still a dilemma in China. This is because, despite the policies to limit the demand of oil in the country, coal still remains a favored sector. However, if the country’s officials were to instead move to renewable energy, it would solve their import dependency on crude oil, thus saving the quite a lot of money, judging from the figures we have seen above.

While companies like Bullfrog Gold Corp. (CSE: BFG) (OTCQB: BFGC) (FSE: 11B) are doing everything possible to reduce their carbon footprint, it is surprising that China doesn’t appear to be making any move to reduce its dependence on coal.

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