Chinese investment in Australian energy collapses

NEW CHINESE investment in Australia’s oil and gas and renewable energy sector has fallen to decade lows, despite a year of record bilateral trade.
Chinese investment in Australian energy collapses Chinese investment in Australian energy collapses Chinese investment in Australian energy collapses Chinese investment in Australian energy collapses Chinese investment in Australian energy collapses

Chinese investment in Australian oil and gas has plummeted.

Paul Hunt

Senior Journalist: Oil & Gas, Policy.

Paul Hunt

While China remains Australia's largest trading partner, research from KPMG and the University of Sydney found Chinese investment in Australia overall had plummeted by 58% from A$8.2 billion in 2018 to just $3.4 billion over 2019. 

There was no investment in oil and gas developments and little investment in renewables.

Chinese investment in Australian oil and gas has been falling over recent years. In 2018 it accounted for 9% of total Chinese investment in Australia, worth some $726 million. In 2017 it was worth $1.15 billion. However, it has never fallen to zero. 

Even five years ago Belgium outpaced China in terms of Overseas Direct Investment and the United States has long held the top spot, despite more muted trade between it and Australia.

According to the new report, Chinese investment in Australia had fallen faster than other western nations including the United States. 

"This 2019 downturn in value brings Chinese Overseas Direct Investment into Australia to the lowest annual level since Chinese investment peaked in mining and energy in 2008," the report said. 

Mining investment fell 55% from $464 million in 2018 to $207.73 million, and now only represents 6% of total Chinese investment. 

By industry, the largest investment sector was food and agriculture, accounting for 44% or $1.53 billion of total Chinese ODI, while the second-largest sector was commercial real estate at 43% or $4.5 billion worth of investment. 

Both agricultural and commercial real estate investment from China is booming, growing more than 1600% in each sector last year. 

Renewable energy investment was down 94% on last year, with just $23 million worth of ODI. Renewables make up just 1% of overall Chinese investment in Australia. 

Oil and gas investments include Chinese state oil company stakes in Queensland's three LNG export concerns and minor stakes in Western Australian LNG, as well as PetroChina's 50% share of Arrow Energy which will commercialise the huge Surat gas project in Queensland. It reached sanction earlier this year. 

 

 



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