Securitization of energy supply chains in China
Guy CK Leung
Summary, in English
Energy policies in China, the world’s largest energy consumer, are an important factor in shaping the 41 global energy system. While scholars agree that energy security is a major driver of China’s energy 42 policies, there is insufficient understanding of what exactly constitutes China’s energy security from the 43 policy perspective. We apply recent insights from the Global Energy Assessment, particularly the idea 44 of vital energy systems, and the securitization theory to propose a framework for explaining China’s 45 energy security policies in their historic evolution. We pay specific attention to explaining how particular 46 energy supply chains are constructed and securitized. We draw data from over 300 Chinese and over 100 47 English publications and 30 interviews with energy officials and experts in China. We demonstrate that 48 China’s focus on vulnerabilities of its oil supply chain at the expense of improving the reliability of domes- 49 tic electricity supply is not accidental. It has its roots in historic events, properties of energy systems, as 50 well as the presence of powerful institutional agents interested in securitizing the oil supply chain but 51 not other vital energy systems. We suggest that this focus on the oil supply chain is likely to be maintained 52 in the future, possibly accompanied by increasing concerns over natural gas supply chains. Our proposed 53 framework for energy security policy analysis can be used for other countries and jurisdictions.