Since 2003, China has begun to establish its own strategic petroleum reserves (SPR) to strengthen its oil supply security. Due to the unpredictable feature of the oil supply interruption or sudden price rising, questions about operating the SPR become an important issue for China’s policy makers. This paper analysed the operating strategies for China’s SPR by developing a stochastic dynamic programming model, which considered uncertainties of the world oil prices and the construction process of China’s SPR sites. Different situations, including normal world oil prices, short-term world oil price rising, continuously high world oil prices and continuously oil price decrease were considered and discussed. Optimal SPR operating strategies coping with uncertainties of world oil prices for China were derived and relevant policy implications were obtained. The influence effects on world oil price caused by the acquisition or drawdown actions of China’s SPR were considered, too.
Keywords: optimal models, operating strategies, oil prices uncertainties, China, SPR, strategic petroleum reserve, dynamic programming, oil supply, energy security, construction process