The situation of China's energy resources shows that China is rich in coal but lacking in oil and natural gas (NG). The proven reserves of oil and NG in China by the end of 2007 had been 15.5 billion barrels and 1,880 billion square meters, accounting for 1.3% and 1.1% worldwide, while the proven reserves of coal in China was 114.5 billion tons, or 13.5%. Lacking in oil and NG but rich in coal, plus the increasingly serious energy crisis in the world, has forced China to focus on the coal chemical industry.
The National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) pointed out in its Exposure Draft of Mid- & Long-Term Development Plans of Coal Chemical Industry issued in 2006 that the government was going to invest RMB1, 000bn in China's coal chemical industry in the next 13 years to relieve the growing tensions of demand for energy sources in the country. As for products, there would be major development in coal-based methanol, dimethyl ether, alkene and oil in the next 15 years, while there wouldn't be much increase in traditional products, such as coke and chemical fertilizers, and the production capacity of calcium carbide would also be reduced.
Geographically, China started in 2007 to forge seven major regions for the coal chemical industry, which include the middle and lower reaches of the Yellow River; Eastern Inner Mongolia; Eastern Heilongjiang Province; combination of Jiangsu, Shandong, Henan, and Anhui Provinces; Middle China; the combination of Yunnan and Guizhou Provinces; and Xinjiang Province; out of these the middle and lower reaches of the Yellow River, Xinjiang Province, and Eastern Inner Mongolia would be the bases for massive production of methanol, dimethyl ether, and coal-based oil.
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