China is set to overtake the United States as the world’s largest importer of oil this decade. While the expansion of China?’s economy has slowed from a breakneck 10% yearly rate to a still-formidable 7% per annum, the economic metamorphosis of the Middle Kingdom is having huge impacts on global energy markets.
The growing ranks of China’s middle class increasingly aspire to a lifestyle – and level of consumption – that approximates the patterns of their counterparts in the world’s richest countries. The death of Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez has further highlighted China’s need for the lifeblood of a modern economy and the economic and geopolitical threats China’s dependence on imported energy hold for the leadership in Beijing. Continue reading