Resource Evaluation

The temporal and spatial patterns and potential evaluation of China’s energy resources development

  • 1. Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, CAS, Beijing 100101, China;;
    2. Graduate University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China;;
    3. Key Laboratory of Regional Sustainable Development Modeling, CAS, Beijing 100101, China
Ma Beibei (1983–), Ph.D, specialized in urbanization and resources development. E-mail:

Received date: 2009-10-30

  Revised date: 2009-12-25

  Online published: 2010-06-15

Supported by

Key Project of National Science and Technology Supporting Program, No.2006038053001; Key Project of National Natural Science Foundation of China, No.40535026; Environment Protection and Public Welfare Project of Ministry of Science and Technology, No.08L80370AJ


The issue of China’s energy supply security is not only the key problem which affects China’s rapid and sustainable development in the 21st century, but also the one which international attention focuses on. Based on the notable characteristic of spatial imbalance between energy production and consumption in China, this paper takes the evolution of China’s primary energy resources development(excluding hydropower) from 1949 to 2007 as the study object, with the aim to sum up the evolutive characteristics and laws of China’s energy resources development in the past nearly 60 years. Then, based on comprehensive considerations of coal’s, oil’s and natural gas’s basic reserves, qualities, geological conditions, production status, and ecological service function of every province, this paper adopts development potential index (DP)to evaluate the development potential of every province’s energy resources, and divide them into different ranks. Conclusions are drawn as follows: (1) Generally speaking, China’s gross energy production was increasing in waves from 1949 to 2007. From the viewpoint of spatial patterns, China’s energy resources development has shown a characteristic of “concentrating to the north and central areas, and evolving from linear-shaped to “T-shaped” pattern gradually since 1949. (2) The structure evolution of China’s energy resources development in general has shown a trend of “coal proportion is dominant but decreasing, while oil and gas proportions are increasing” since 1949. (3) At the provincial scale, China’s energy resources development potential could be divided into large, sub-large, general and small ranks, four in all. In the future, the spatial pattern of China’s energy production will evolve from “T-shaped” to “Π-shaped pattern”. These conclusions will help to clarify the temporal and spatial characteristics and laws of China’s energy resources development, and will be beneficial for China to design scientific and rational energy development strategies and plans, coordinate spatial imbalance of energy production and consumption, ensure national energy supply, avoid energy resources waste and disorderly development, and promote regional sustainable development under the globalization background with changeful international energy market.

Cite this article

MA Beibei, LU Chunxia, ZHANG Lei, CHENG Xiaoling . The temporal and spatial patterns and potential evaluation of China’s energy resources development[J]. Journal of Geographical Sciences, 2010 , 20(3) : 347 -356 . DOI: 10.1007/s11442-010-0347-y


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