Yesterday, the 48 Group Club and Cambridge Network presented the first Cambridge Icebreaker Lecture – “China and the world economy – prospects and challenges”, which was given by Lord Browne of Madingley, Chief Executive of BP, at the Judge Business School in Cambridge.
Lord Browne has a long history in China, and BP is a major foreign investor in the country, so he was able to speak from a very strong position of understanding.
In a wide-ranging speech he noted that, contrary to popular opinion, Chinese demand for oil has not been the main factor in pushing up prices to their current levels – Chinese demand was around 3 million barrels per day in 2005, compared to 9 million barrels for the EU and 13 million barrels for the US, and China accounts for only around one third of total demand growth. He added “The real driver behind the increase in prices has been the limited level of global spare capacity”.
Lord Browne reported that while China aims to restrict energy demand to 50 percent of GDP growth over the next decade, there is still a huge technological and environmental challenge facing the country. Work being done on nuclear and coal research and development at leading institutions, such as Qinghua University, is expected to help China achieve these aims.
A full transcript of his speech is available to members of the 48 Group Club on the Club website. Follow the link for membership details.