The relationship between the six states of the Gulf Co-operation Council1 (GCC) and China is advancing quickly. There is plenty of evidence to demonstrate that both China and the GCC states recognise the growing value of partnership and have invested time, money, and effort to lift relations to a new level. In many ways, the relationship should be a natural fit: China is growing quickly (GDP was estimated at $13.39 trillion in 2013)2, despite cyclical downturns, and is, therefore, energy hungry. Its growing population (estimated 1.4 billion in 2014)3 requires staggering amounts of energy; with an expanding middle class, oil demand is set to grow by 8 million barrels per day (MBD) to reach 18 MBD by 2035.4 The Gulf Arab states that make up the GCC hold approximately 33% of the world’s oil reserves,5 and Qatar operates the largest non-associated gas field and is the number one exporter of liquefied natural gas (LNG).6 Moreover, as energy demand amongst the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) countries stagnates and, in some cases, even declines, the GCC-China relationship looks set to strengthen.
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