Chinas development of its energy resources in the past three decades has been quite impressive. It is now the world's third largest producer of raw coal (and will shortly surpass the United States to become the second largest producer after the Soviet Union). China's crude oil extraction, negligible in 1949, has been expanding by more than 10 percent annually so that it now ranks behind Venezuela, and its natural gas flow is approaching 60 billion cubic meters, placing China in fifth place worldwide. 1