Chinese energy regulator to crack down on bribery, corruption
BEIJING, Aug 25 (Reuters) – Graft inspectors have called on the Chinese energy regulator to intensify oversight of the approval process for new projects and accelerate reforms of its massive oil, gas and power sector as Beijing cracks down on widespread corruption.
Releasing its findings after months of investigations, the inspectors on Thursday named almost 40 items in a to-do list for the National Energy Administration aimed at preventing bribery and holding corrupt officials to account.
“We will have no mercy against the lawbreakers,” they said in a statement.
China has launched probes into or punished nine energy officials during its anti-graft campaign that has swept government ministries and state-owned companies, accusing them of taking bribes in approving projects, the statement said.
The statement contained few surprises as the fast pace of project approvals has been an issue for some time, but its publication may reinforce worries that bureaucratic processes may be slowed due to the crackdown.
The inspectors urged the NEA to allow local governments to approve LNG receiving terminals, thermal power plants and provincial power grid construction, as a way to reduce the grip of monopolies over China’s energy sector.
They said one of the NEA’s main tasks in the short term is to draw up plans by next month for the nation’s energy capacity as far ahead as 2020 and present another plan to clean up coal processing by the end of this month.
Taking aim at inefficient power plants, the inspectors said the NEA should withdraw licences and step up the enforcement of environmental regulations.
To boost the use of renewables and cut a reliance on coal, 14 special rules on renewables will be drafted to meet the country’s target of increasing the non-fossil fuel share in the energy mix to 20 percent by 2030, the statement said.
For the oil and gas sector, the inspectors said the agency must finalise and implement the state strategic oil reserve regulations “as soon as possible”. Draft rules were released in June.
And it said the long-anticipated reforms for oil and gas, a move to deregulate the sector, will be released by end of this year, said the statement.
(Reporting by Kathy Chen and Josephine Mason; editing by David Evans)