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China is increasing investment in oil exploration to limit its dependence on imports, but forecasts say domestic production will keep declining as the country’s demand grows.
After years of warnings, it appears that China’s government is now taking the strategic implications of import dependence as a higher priority, spurred by rising reliance on foreign natural gas as well as oil.
On March 6, the South China Morning Post reported that China National Petroleum Corp. (CNPC) plans to boost its exploration budget fivefold this year to 5 billion yuan (U.S. $745 million), citing an interview with chairman Wang Yilin by the company’s online newsletter “China Petroleum Daily.”
The increase is aimed at reversing declines in domestic oil output, which has stagnated for over a decade due to diminished returns from aged oilfields and China’s difficult geology.
In 2018, production fell 1.4 percent to an average of 3.79 million barrels per day (mbpd), according to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS). At the same time, China’s apparent oil demand rose 5.3 percent to 13.52 mbpd, Platts Commodity News said.
Using those figures, China’s import dependence for oil reached 72 percent, slightly more than CNPC’s calculations and those based on International Energy Agency (IEA) data.
Wang put the ratio at “almost 70 percent.”
Variations aside, China’s reliance on foreign oil has risen sharply since it first crossed the 50-percent threshold in 2008.
Yet, Wang’s remarks suggest that the national oil company (NOC) sees the deterioration of China’s energy security as a “political” issue driven by the government’s concerns.
“As energy is a lifeline of the economy, CNPC as a key state enterprise and the nation’s largest oil and gas supplier must carry out the political task of enhancing national energy security by having a sound resource development strategy,” Wang said.
While the rise of import dependence has been rapid, it shows few signs of changing course, according to projections.
In data released with its Oil 19 medium-term forecast on March 14, the Paris-based IEA estimated that imports will account for 72 percent of China’s oil demand this year, rising to 76 percent in 2024.
Domestic production will drop to 3.58 mbpd by that time, the IEA said. While demand is expected to grow by 10 percent during the period, production in China is slated to fall by more than five percent.
In a long-term forecast in November, the IEA projected the import proportion will hit 82 percent by 2040, even though demand growth is expected to slow.
No reason for optimism
Despite the increases in investment, there seems to be little confidence that more exploration spending will turn the situation around.
Edward Chow, senior associate for energy and national security at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, wondered whether the announced budget expansion would be devoted solely to domestic exploration or also to overseas resources.
“I don’t see any reason for optimism on large new domestic discoveries,” Chow said. “It isn’t like they hadn’t been looking before.”
Confidence may be lacking at the corporate level, as well.
Although the fivefold increase in the budget may make a numerical impression, the planned investment pales in comparison to the billions that CNPC promised to invest in foreign oil exploration and development in the 1990s under the government’s “go out” strategy.
In late 2017, CNPC argued that it would soon have rights to production of four mbpd overseas, or more than China’s output at home.
The suggestion was that import dependence was nothing to worry about, since nearly two-thirds of China’s demand would be covered by a combination of domestic production and foreign “equity oil.”
But from an energy security standpoint, the ownership of foreign oil may make only a marginal difference since it is still subject to cross-border risks and transit uncertainties on the high seas.
The government’s concern appears to have grown along with signs that import dependence for gas is quickly following the same pattern as authorities promote fuel-switching from coal to fight urban smog.
In his interview, Wang said that China’s reliance on foreign gas reached 45.3 percent last year. Based on RFA calculations from consumption figures, the import share stood at 39.2 percent in 2017.
Last year, domestic gas production rose 7.5 percent while consumption climbed 18.1 percent, the NBS and the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) said.
The IEA has said that dependence on foreign gas will reach 54 percent in 2040, but if the current pace persists, that level could come much sooner.
“What is clear is that China has been unsuccessful in arresting the trend of increasing oil import dependency, which has now extended to gas,” Chow said by email.
“Short of technological breakthroughs in producing domestic energy or reducing demand, this has clear energy security and foreign/defense policy implications,” he said.
‘A very unsafe source of risk’
Although the government is apparently pressing CNPC to do more, a commentary in the Communist Party-affiliated paper Global Times argued that the efforts are not enough.
Citing an interview with Lin Boqiang, dean of Xiamen University’s China Institute for Studies in Energy Policy, the paper said the estimate of 70-percent oil dependence may be “conservative.”
“More importantly, the government should be aware that such high oil dependency is actually a very unsafe source of risk,” the commentary said.
Lin held out little hope for gains in domestic oil production and instead urged increases in the amount of oil held in China’s strategic petroleum reserve (SPR).
The emergency stockpile is believed to hold only enough oil to cover 40 to 50 days’ worth of imports in case of disruptions, less than half of the coverage of SPRs in Japan and the United States, Lin said.
The timing of Wang’s interview on the sidelines of China’s annual legislative sessions is a sign that the exploration push is part of the government’s larger reform plan for the oil and gas sector.
It is unclear whether or how much the NOCs would be paid for their infrastructure assets, or whether they would be rewarded with shares in the new pipeline company.
But the proceeds from the pipeline spinoff could be used to fund exploration and development of more promising but challenging resources of shale oil and gas.
The South China Morning Post suggested that the restructuring could at least free up exploration funds.
“After the establishment of the new pipeline company and selling its pipelines to the firm, (CNPC subsidiary) PetroChina will no longer have to fund their expansion and have more capital to plow into resources exploration,” the paper said.
Xinhua cited remarks by CNPC’s Wang that suggested a more gradual approach.
“The establishment of a national oil and gas pipeline company would be subject to the reform of (the) national petroleum and natural gas system, and the proper timing of unveiling the national oil and gas pipeline company is under discussion,” Xinhua quoted him as saying. (RFA)
When it comes to our day-to-day life, there are several things which help us enhance our day with every step. One such thing is music. It enhances, motivates and boosts certain aspects of our personality in ways that may not come into notice. There have been several researches on how music affects human brain. Studies show it helps us in recovery and healing, and also, encouraging us to be better if exposed to the right kind and fit.
From kids to elderly, music as a commodity, can be consumed by all. It is the universal language that is spoken by each and every being, from animals to humans to plants, each respond to it in their own ways. Suffice to say, we are united by music and the effect it has over us. Plants, for example, grow better when exposed to good music. Many songs are being composed specifically to enhance and boost their growth. Same is the case for humans. For humans, the right kind of music can boost good health, physically as well as mentally. You might have noticed how in gyms, upbeat music is played. That is to channel energy into everyone present. It adds to the workout. Several researches around the world have shown better physical output when exposed to appropriate music. Fast paced songs with upbeat nature channeled speed and the slower ones slowed downs the listeners, without them noticing. The sub-conscious effects of music are continuously being studied.
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Our heart starts beating according to the music we are listening to.Unsplash
Listening to upbeat or happy music also reduces stress and pressure from our minds. Many people become relaxed while listening to calming music. This is why calming sounds are used during a yoga session. Classical music seems to have the same calming and soothing effect. Furthermore, classical music has much more advantages over metal or techno music, it has proven to enhance learning and improve sleep in its listeners. A study was conducted in which participants were divided in groups where one group was exposed to classical music, another to metal and last one was supervised without any music. The group exposed to classical music showed healthier sleeping pattern than the rest.
Also Read: Undiscovered Music Trends For Indian Music
Several brands and outlets encash on different characteristics of music. Calm and soothing music is used in spas to help customer relax. It is a known fact that our heart starts beating according to the music we are listening to. So, music with faster beats will have our heart beating faster and the slow one will have calmer effect. This is why slow music channels calm. And the same fact has led to faster and upbeat music being played in food outlets. A study conducted in a farm, where people were invited to have food, where one half was exposed to slower music and for other fast-paced music was played. Not only did the group exposed to fast-music ate faster but also ate more than the group who ate in slower one. Next time you are in a food outlet or a restaurant observe the kind of music they are playing and the eating pattern.
Music can even be a facilitator of communication. We can sometimes convey our thoughts through the medium of a song. Sometimes someone’s words justify our inner feelings better than us. Or sometimes a song brings back certain memory or a place, and takes us to that certain moment. To say music is a time-machine would not be wrong. It is a dynamic blessing that can be used throughout our lives.
Key Words: Music, Calm, Soothing, Effects of Music
As more and more people are acknowledging the importance of their mental well-being, the wave of awareness the acknowledgment has brought is unprecedented. It may not have paved a clear path towards complete healing but it certainly has shown the way. The awareness is the key to heal. Healing begins only after the problem is identified. Similar to physical illness, the identification of the problem area is the first step. Even in case of a minor wound, when we go to the hospital the nurse first locates the wound. They, then, ask how we got hurt and identify the nature of the wound. Only then, they clean, put ointment and wrap it up if it needs wrapping and protection from air and dust. Sometimes, that protection is not needed. The wound heals out in the open. Same goes when it comes to healing of a mental trauma or illness. Sometimes, we confine in professionals or our loved ones, in order to let it out and process it openly. Sometimes, the trauma reduces with time. In any way, being aware and vigilant is the way to go.
Being knowledgeable about life in general, opens many channels for you. Being knowledgeable about yourself, opens gates inside you that lead to spiritual and general awareness about the concept of self. And the inner awareness is not necessarily internal, it can be seen from the outside as well. When we have positive energy from within it radiates physically as well. Have you encountered someone who’s spiritually awakened and aware? Do they stand out in the crowd? There are prominent examples of people who have made their mark in history, there is Swami Vivekanada, his awakening has revolutionised generations, one live example we can witness is The Dalai Lama.
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Healing is part of the spiritual journey.Unsplash
Also Read: Follow These Tips For a Better Mental Health
Awareness is the first step towards the staircase of spirituality. Healing is part of that journey. In our world, we go by our lives without paying much attention to causes of our actions. Every little thing we do, we do it for a reason. We might be suffering without being aware of it. There might be certain actions which are screaming those are trauma-response and not really us. But we go by our days, without paying heed to the fact that it really is the small actions that carry weightage in our lives. When we become attentive and thoughtful with what we do, we introspect, and then act. Thoughtless actions do not bear much fruit anyway. Thoughtfulness not only benefits us personally, but makes world a better place to live in. It really is the need of the hour to introspect every little doing and if it does not fit with the idea of self, then, it is time to find the root cause of what has us where we are.
Being self-aware is crucial as a human quality as well. When we face our problems, we gain experience, that experience leads us to understand and empathise with others’ sufferings too. It is a wholesome development.
Key Words: Self-awareness, Spirituality, Thoughtfulness, Mental Health
Honestly, who hasn’t watched one of the epic series of HBO– Game of Thrones?
There’s no question that when the first episode of Game of Thrones was released on April 11, 2011, the youth population of the world became exuberant. The main reasons behind this reaction was, first, the theme of the show, and second, the hidden lessons which it put forward.
Some of the valuable lessons which the Game of Thrones taught us are:
1. The pack always survives. This aptly meant that whether your pack consists of your family or your friends, you are the strongest when you are surrounded by a support system. This is what Ned Stark taught his children, to be together when “the winter comes”.
2. Never forget who you truly are. One of the most important lessons was given by Tyrion Lannister. He taught us that we should never forget who we really are. This means that we must not forget our bad habits and where we lack. So, once we know who we are, no one could ever use our lagging points against us.
3. Reading is necessary. Tyrion Lannister said, “A mind needs books like a sword needs a whetstone.” There is absolutely no denying that reading is not a habit now-a-days, but a necessity. If you want to be sharp and smart, then you must devote sometime to books, for they would teach you a lot!
4. Always pay your debts. Well, one of the most philosophical and learned houses if Game of Thrones is House Lannister. And so, one of the sayings of their house is, “A Lannister always pays his debts.” From here we get another life lesson that we must always pay off what we owe from people.
5. Always believe, “You know nothing.” Ygritte said this to Jon Snow in a teasing manner. But, this is actually for all those who believe that they know each and everything. Well, never believe that you know everything. Always learn from new experiences and never hesitate to take advice from others.
So, these were five most significant lessons which the series Game of Thrones offered us. In reality, we all are aware of these lessons, but we never really work upon them. But now, let’s try to understand each lesson and become the heir someday!
Keywords: Entertainment, Game of Thrones, HBO, Series, Youth, Lessons.