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China in uphill energy battle?

BEIJING, Aug. 24 (UPI) -- Beijing's aim to exploit as many energy resources as possible to feed its growing economy is very aggressive and comes with few guarantees, an official said.

The International Energy Agency said in a July 2010 report that China has redefined the global energy sector as it passed the United States as the world's largest energy consumer.

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The IEA said China outpaced U.S. energy consumption by 4 percent in 2009.

Michal Jones, a technology director at London-listed Fortune Oil, which focuses on oil and gas exploration in China, said domestic gas production there far outpaces consumption.

"The Chinese target is to have 10 percent of its energy provided by gas by 2020, which would equate to 7 trillion cubic feet, and the word in the industry is that the government is pushing to hit that target even earlier now," he told The Daily Telegraph newspaper in London. "The potential in those numbers is obvious."

China in a 5-year development plan outlined a strategy to get more energy from coal-bed methane, gas locked inside coal deposits. Beijing is considering as many domestic options as possible to meet its energy needs. But Jones said there are "no ultimate guarantees" that Beijing's strategy will work.

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"The Chinese know they need to develop their own resources, and we see them setting very aggressive targets," he said.

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