China to set up task force dealing with growing energy crisis

May 02, 2005 02:00 AM

China has confirmed its intention to set up a special task force to deal with its two-year-old energy crisis. The task force, or "leading group," will be in charge of creating a uniform plan for the country's energy policies, but will try to avoid interfering in the business of the nation's oil companies.
"The energy crisis, which began in the second half of 2003, has created a dire need for a country-wide energy policy," said Jiang Xinmin, a senior energy economist with the National Development and Reform Commission.

The new leading group will be based on an existing energy bureau at the commission. Reflecting the importance attached to energy issues, the task force will be headed by Ma Kai, the minister in charge of the commission.
Economic growth in China reached an eight-year high of 9.5 % in 2004, with the unwelcome side effect that two thirds of the country's provinces reported energy shortages. Calls have been growing in China for the establishment of a more powerful agency -- or ideally, a regular ministry -- to replace the current energy bureau under Ma's commission, which has a staff of only 20.

Critics insist the bureau has failed to reduce energy shortages, especially a lack of electricity nationwide since mid 2003.
China set up a Ministry of Energy in 1988 but it was dissolved five years later because its administrative functions overlapped with other departments.

Source: Petroleumworld
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