Energy Programme Asia (EPA)

A new Joint Research Programme between the Energy Programme Asia at IIAS (EPA-IIAS) and the Institute of World Politics and Economy of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (IWPE-CASS) in Beijing, China.

The Political Economy of the Belt & Road Initiative and its Reflections

The main objective of this joint research project is to investigate the policy, policy tools and impacts of China’s Belt and Road Initiative. By focusing on China's involvement with governments, local institutions, and local stakeholders, we aim to examine the subsequent responses to China’s activities from the local to the global-geopolitical level in the following selected countries in Asia, Africa and the European Union: Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Ethiopia, Hungary, the West Balkans and Russia.

    Completed research

    The transnationalization of China’s oil industry

    Company strategies, embedded projects and relations with institutions and stakeholders in resource-rich countries

    This is the second joint research programme between the Institute of and African Studies IWAAS-CASS - Chinese Academy of Social Sciences,  Energy Programme Asia - IIAS, and the Royal Netherlands Academy for Arts and Sciences (KNAW).

    This joint comparative research project of the Energy Programme Asia (EPA) analysed China’s increasing involvement with governments, local institutions and local stakeholders in the energy sectors of a number of resource-rich countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America (notably Sudan, Ghana, Saudi-Arabia, Iraq, Iran, Venezuela, and Brazil).

    The project seeked to determine patterns of interaction between national institutions and Chinese companies, their relationships to foreign investment projects, and the extent to which they are embedded in the local economies. China’s huge demand and novel,  professedly non-political, approach to investment (including tied aid, loans, and trading credits) sets it apart from European international practices. The effects of investments  in these resource-rich economies and societies, many of which are managed by China’s state-owned oil companies, require further analysis of transactions, flows of capital, employment and income-generation, etc. Our hypothesis assumed a growing symbiosis between these enterprises and local institutions on the one hand, and Chinese company and government behaviour on the other, that differs significantly from country to country because of differences in institutional context, and place- and time-specific economic opportunities. Our analysis of these investments and running operations may provide important general insights into the local effects of bilateral and global energy cooperation, and the learning curves of international and local oil companies

    Project team

    The joint research project is managed by Dr. M.P. Amineh (The Energy Programme Asia –EPA- IIAS/UvA*) and Prof. Yang Guang (Institute of West Asian and African Studies –CASS**) in cooperation with the following Chinese and Dutch research centres and universities:

    • Institute of West Asian and African Studies (IWAAS- CASS)
    • Institute of Industrial Economy (IIE-CASS)
    • Institute of Latin American Studies (ILAS-CASS)
    • Centre for Latin American Studies (CEDLA-UvA)
    • Department of Human Geography, Planning and International Development Studies (UvA)
    • Department of Political Science (UvA)
    • Leiden University
    • Institute for Environmental Studies of VU Free University Amsterdam (VU)
    • Copernicus Institute of Sustainable Development, Utrecht University
    • International Institute for Asian Studies (IIAS)

    *  University  of Amsterdam,  Amsterdam, The Netherlands
    ** Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, Beijing, China

    Research outcomes

    A core team of principal authors will present individual studies on various aspects and different countries. It consists of Mehdi Amineh (Programme Director EPA-IIAS and UvA) and Yang Guang (Programme-Director –IWAAS-CASS); Chen Mo(IWAAS-CASS); Nana de Graaf (VU); Joyeeta Gupta (UvA); Barbara Hogenboom(CEDLA-UvA); Sara Hardus (UvA); Li Xiaohua (IIE); Liu Dong (IWAAS-CASS); Sun Hongbo (ILAS-CASS); and Wina Graus (UU). Four external, independently-funded international researchers will provide additional expertise. The resulting studies will be published in refereed journals such as Energy PolicySocial Aspects of Energy[Elsevier], China Information, and a book volume.

    Project advisors

    As advisors to the project, Kurt Radtke (Professor emeritus, Leiden University; Professor Waseda University,Tokyo 1998-2006), Gerd Junne (Professor emeritus, UvA), Leo Douw (UvA and VU) and Henk Houweling (UvA and guest lecturer at the Institute of European Studies of the University of Macau) will provide comments on the studies, and also mentor and assist researchers from China during their stay in the Netherlands.

    Sponsors for the period 2013 - 2017

    - Chinese Exchange Programme of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Social Sciences (KNAW)
    - Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS)
    - International Institute for Asian Studies (IIAS) 

    Past Programmes

    Launched in 2002, the EPA-research programme of IIAS is designed to study the effects of global geopolitics of energy security on the one hand, and policy to increase energy efficiency and estimating the prospects for the exploitation of renewable energy resources on the other.

    First EPA-IWAAS joint research project  (2007-2011)

    From 2007 – 2011 EPA and the Institute of West Asian and African Studies of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (IWAAS-CASS) co-managed their first joint research project Domestic and Geopolitical Challenges to Energy Security of China and the European Union, in collaboration with four research institutes of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences and four universities in the Netherlands. The objectives of this comparative research project were to analyze (a) the geopolitical and (b) domestic aspects of energy security challenges for the European Union (EU) and China and their impact on energy security policy strategies. The analysis of geopolitical aspects involved research on the effects of competition for access to oil and gas resources among the main global consumer countries and its implications for the security of energy supplies of the EU and China.  The domestic aspects involved analyses of domestic energy demand and supply, policies to increase energy efficiency, and estimating the prospects for the exploitation of renewable energy resources.  The results of this successful joint project have been published in two book volumes: The Globalisation of Energy: China and the European Union  (10 research papers, January 2010) and Secure Oil and Alternative Energy: The geopolitics of energy paths of China and the European Union  (14 research papers, July 2012).