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China Seeks More Secrecy In Its Energy Sector To Protect National Security

China needs to exercise extreme discretion and protect the secrecy of its energy sector to safeguard its national security against unfriendly foreign forces, a top Chinese energy official said on Wednesday.

“It is necessary to increase propaganda around ensuring confidentiality, give full play to the traditions of confidentiality in nuclear, petroleum and other energy industries, organize and hold various activities, actively foster a culture of protecting secrets and extreme discretion,” Zhang Jianhua, the director of China’s National Energy Administration (NEA), wrote on Wednesday. The comments of the official were published on the agency’s website and translated by CNBC.

China, for example, does not report commercial or strategic oil inventories. Analysts are trying to estimate whether the world’s largest crude oil importer is stockpiling crude or drawing from inventories by using government data to deduct the amount of crude processed by refiners from all available crude coming from imports and domestic production.

China’s Zhang also said that secrecy in the energy sector is important to prevent potential leaks of technology.

“The energy transition has some contradictions and difficulties — these very often are the focus of foreign hostile forces that want to steal and attack. They are fixed on our country’s energy sector, have increased collection of all kinds of data and information, in order to distort and slander China’s energy strategic planning, transformation, development, and other work, and interfere and influence our hard-won secure and stable environment,” Zhang said, without naming the “foreign hostile forces.”

President Xi Jinping has put national security at the forefront of China’s policies.

In an escalating technology war with the United States, China sent shockwaves through the supply chain and chip markets in July after announcing export controls on two metals, gallium and germanium, starting on August 1. These critical metals are used in microchip production.

The “implementation of export controls is cautious and moderate, aiming to safeguard national security and fulfill international obligations more effectively,” China’s Ministry of Commerce said on Thursday, quoted by China Daily. 

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By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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