The nation has sufficient energy reserves, the Ministry of Economic Affairs said yesterday, dispelling concerns over energy disruption after China announced it would hold live-fire drills in waters surrounding Taiwan from today to Sunday.
The drills are in retaliation for US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan. The planned exercises stoked fears that energy shipments could be delayed and put Taiwan’s energy supply at risk.
The ministry said in a statement that the government has accumulated energy reserves for local consumption through state-run companies.
All vital energy stocks exceed regulatory safety levels, it said.
As building up energy reserves is an issue of national security, the government has made numerous contingency plans against Chinese military exercises, the ministry said.
“The nation has rules to keep energy reserves at safe levels. Besides, we have multiple energy sources,” the ministry said. “We are well-prepared with sufficient energy reserves. The public should not be worried about supply disruptions.”
The nation has crude oil reserves equivalent to 146 days of consumption, while natural gas reserves are at a level equivalent to 10 to 11 days of local consumption, the ministry said.
The nation’s coal stockpiles are sufficient for 39 days, it said.
To keep the nation’s energy reserves in check, the ministry is monitoring energy stocks with Taiwan Power Co (台電) and CPC Corp, Taiwan (台灣中油) on a daily basis, the statement said.
In light of China’s planned drills, gas suppliers are rerouting or reducing the speed of some liquefied natural gas (LNG) tankers en route to North Asia, people familiar with the matter said.
Shipments to Taiwan and Japan this weekend would be affected, the people said.
Shipping companies are also assessing their options and the actions threaten to disrupt one of the world’s busiest waterways.
Local branches of China’s maritime safety administration have issued multiple warnings for ships to avoid certain territories, citing the military exercises, while Taiwan’s Maritime and Port Bureau warned ships to find alternative routes to access and depart from seven major ports in Taiwan during China’s drills, the Chinese-language Apple Daily reported yesterday.
While the disruptions could exacerbate a shortage of LNG amid an energy crunch, delays of a few days are not uncommon. Shippers often face typhoons at this time of year that create similar disruptions.
Additional reporting by Bloomberg
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