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China mulls new energy “super ministry”

China is considering a proposal to create an energy “super-ministry” as part of a sweeping cabinet reshuffle in 2013, two independent sources told Reuters. The step would help Beijing impose its will on an industry beset by bureaucratic infighting.

The new ministry would replace the National Energy Administration (NEA), China’s main energy regulator, and would take on the energy-related duties currently scattered across other government bodies, said the sources, who requested anonymity due to political sensitivities. The new body would also handle long-term planning and policy making for the sector.

“Various interest groups are now wrestling (over the plan), but there is a need for an energy super-ministry,” a source with ties to China’s top leadership.

“China, the world’s biggest energy consumer, has been trying to draw up a long-term strategy for the sector that will address the security of overseas oil-and-gas supplies, rationalise pricing and taxation policies, boost new energy like nuclear and renewables and cut pollution and greenhouse gas. Ministries in China also often overlap as regulator,” says Reuters.

Without a unified energy regulator, Beijing has struggled to achieve many of its priorities, including establishing a strategic petroleum reserve and reining in its perilous and chaotic coal industry.

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