BEIJING May 22 China will eventually allow
private companies to invest in the country's oil and gas
storage, the government said in a blueprint document for its
energy sector that mainly underscored earlier pledges on
reforming heavily monopolized oil and gas industries.
Beijing has previously said it would take steps such as
pushing to open upstream oil and gas exploration to private
companies, help split natural gas sales from gas pipeline
operations and lift the output of higher quality oil products.
That comes as China pushes to overhaul state-owned
enterprises, including with the introduction of so-called mixed
ownership of state firms, as part of the most far-reaching
reforms of its sprawling and inefficient state sector in two
"We are expecting specific measures (on energy sector
reform) to follow after the State Council releases this
overarching guide," said Lin Boqiang, an academic specialised in
energy at Xiamen University.
"(But) this is the first time that China said it would
encourage private capital in oil and gas storage facilities."
In the document released late on Sunday, the State Council
said it would aim to ramp up government investment in the
country's oil storage facilitates, while also allowing non-state
firms to operate storage. It did not give further details.
China has been building underground caverns capable of
holding a substantial chunk of its expanded strategic oil
reserves by 2020, as it looks for new storage methods away from
expensive and exposed above-ground tanks in crowded coastal
The blueprint document also said the State Council would set
up a "management system" to regulate crude import licences.
The rest of the paper mainly repeated earlier government
plans on reforming the energy sector.
(Reporting by Meng Meng and Beijing Monitoring Desk; Editing by