China has enough coal reserves to last another 50 years

China has enough coal for the next 5 decades and sufficient oil to last at least 18 years at current rates of production, according to the Ministry of Natural Resources.

The latest annual tally of reserves released on Wednesday (Sep 21) shows an endowment of fossil fuels that stretches well beyond China's 2030 deadline to peak its carbon emissions. In the case of coal, the worst fuel for global heating, there's enough in the ground to take China past even its 2060 ambition to achieve carbon neutrality. 

China consumes over 4 billion tons of coal a year, most of it domestically mined with imports making up less than a tenth of its needs. In 2021 its reserves stood at around 208 billion tons, 28 per cent more than the prior year's level, while the outlay on exploration rose 10 per cent to 1.3 billion yuan (S$260.8 million), according to the ministry.  

For oil, reserves edged up 2.8 per cent to 3.7 billion tons, which would theoretically be enough to get the nation's drillers through most of the next two decades, assuming stable output of about 200 million tons a year. Natural gas reserves were a touch higher at 6,339 billion cubic meters, enough for the next 3 decades. 

However, China still relies on imports for most of its oil and much of its gas. Investment in exploration over the year rose 13 per cent to 80 billion yuan, with breakthroughs made in finding new reserves in Sichuan, Xinjiang and Inner Mongolia, as well as the Bohai Bay, the report said. BLOOMBERG

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