The autonomous region of Xinjiang has a strategic position in China’s economy, yet several conditions limit the most effective use of its fuels. This article provides an overview of the situation. A more detailed version, with maps and tables, appears here under the same title.
Since ancient times, the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region (Xinjiang) has held a particularly important position in China’s energy strategy. Xinjiang, in the northwest of China, accounts for one-sixth of China’s land mass. It borders on Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tuck Kyrgyz, Pakistan, Mongolia, India, and Afghanistan, with a land border more than 5,600 km.
Xinjiang is not only an important energy source for China but also connects China with Russia and other central Asian countries. Therefore, promoting development of the energy industry in Xinjiang is of extremely vital significance not only for economic and social development of the region but also for China’s energy supply and energy security.
Energy Development Potential
Xinjiang is positioned as China’s ‘‘national energy strategy base’’ because of its rich energy resources. Due to its superior geographical position, energy development in Xinjiang has a huge market. The technical level of energy exploitation and utilization in Xinjiang has gradually improved under relevant policy guidance. All these circumstances position Xinjiang’s energy industry for growth.
Total reserves of natural gas, coal, and other fossil resources in Xinjiang account for more than 20% of China’s energy reserves, placing it in first place for fossil fuel reserves. Xinjiang’s wind power and solar energy resources are ranked second, while its theoretical hydropower reserves rank fourth.
Fossil. Coal, oil, and gas account for 38%, 21.5%, and 23.3% of national reserves respectively. To give some idea of the scale of resources, among the 60 coal fields, the Turpan-Hami coalfield reserves alone are predicted at more than 500 billion t.
Oil reserves in Xinjiang total 23.4 billion t, and gas resources are roughly 13 trillion m3, accounting for 23.3% of the entire onshore gas resources in China. Xinjiang is considered by geologists to have the most potential of all provinces for oil and gas exploration in China.
Renewables. Renewable energy (RE) in Xinjiang has huge exploitation potential. Theoretical reserves of water resources for hydropower production are 38,178.7 MW, or 5.6% of the national total. The quantity that can be technically exploited is 16,564.9 MW; the quantity that can be economically exploited is 15,670 MW.
Wind power reserves are 960,000 MW theoretically, and 134,300 MW can be technically exploited...............Read more