Foreign diplomats optimistic about energy cooperation with China

JINAN, Aug. 26 (Xinhua) — Foreign diplomats to China expressed optimism about energy cooperation with China as they gathered in eastern China for an international forum on Thursday and Friday.

The two-day International Energy Investment and Financing Cooperation Forum in the coastal city of Yantai, Shandong Province, has attracted ambassadors and councilors from some 20 countries. They used the occasion not only to catch up on the latest developments from leading Chinese energy companies, but also to pitch their countries to Chinese investors.

Ugandan Ambassador to China Charles Madibo Wagidoso told Xinhua on the sidelines of the forum that Chinese companies have great potential for investing in Uganda’s oil and gas sector.

Wagidoso said the oil sector in Uganda is still in what he calls the “infancy” period. “We are doing exploration but yet to start actual production,” he said.

“You (Chinese investors) can participate either in the exploration or in the supply of machinery and equipment, or you can participate in the implementation of some of the projects,” Wagidoso said, adding that his country will build a refinery project as well as a 4-billion-U.S.-dollar pipeline connecting oil-rich regions of landlocked Uganda and the Tanzanian port of Tanga on the Indian Ocean.

Wagidoso considers hydropower generation a hot area for Chinese investment as well, citing two major hydroelectric stations now under construction with China’s assistance in the East African country. They are the Karuma Hydroelectric Power Station in the north of the country with a designed capacity of 600 megawatts, and the 200-megawatt Isimba Hydroelectric Power Station in central Uganda.

“Both of them cost 2 billion U.S. dollars,” added Wagidoso.

In addition, as part of the Belt and Road Initiative proposed by China in 2013, Wagidoso said current Sino-Ugandan cooperation is also expanding toward the transportation sector.

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“The Chinese government is going to support us to develop a railroad project estimated at 3 billion U.S. dollars, so there is a high level of economic engagement between Uganda and China,” the Ugandan diplomat said.

Asked about whether the Chinese companies are doing a good job in Uganda, the ambassador said they had been “very good” so far, especially for companies that are implementing projects there.

Mamdouh Sallman, Egypt‘s Minister Plenipotentiary of Commerce to China, said Egypt welcomes all types of cooperation with China in the energy sector, which he said is a priority.

“But in general we welcome Chinese investment in all fields,” Sallman added, highlighting in particular the energy, transportation and infrastructure sectors, which he said the Egyptian government had given more attention in its plan to encourage foreign investment.

“As for examples of cooperation in the field of energy, we chose Chinese companies such as Sinohydro, State Grid and Shanghai Electric to execute many of the energy projects in Egypt,” Sallman said.

“Our government has a plan to develop the economy, and I think what you have, such as huge technological capabilities, meets our requirements,” Sallman said.

Envoys from Kazakhstan, Algeria, Peru and Ethiopia were invited to deliver keynote speeches about the investment environment in their respective countries at the forum.

The event was organized in part by the Yantai-based Jereh Group, a leading Chinese oil and gas service provider and equipment manufacturer.

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