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A study of the petroleum trade network of countries along “The Belt and Road Initiative”

Zhang, Chi, Fu, Jiasha, Pu, Zhengning
Journal of cleaner production 2019 v.222 pp. 593-605
United Nations, energy use and consumption, international trade, issues and policy, petroleum, politics, social networks, sustainable development, China
Sustainable development is one common goal for the whole world, and regional cooperation is imperative to achieve that. Among the 17 sustainable development goals put forward by United Nations, the energy issue is one important part. It is necessary to better understand current energy consumption and trade pattern for energy consumption structure upgrade in the future. Hence, a study on petroleum trade along the “The Belt and Road Initiative” (BRI) can provide practical guidance for regional cooperation and sustainable development. This research uses social network analysis to investigate structural characteristics and evolution pattern with petroleum trade data of countries along BRI. We find that the primary structure of trade network keeps unchanged. Cohesion and core-periphery analysis results indicate that China has constructed a tight relationship with other countries and more trade links are sustained by fewer nations respectively, trade is still correlated to geopolitics. Regional trade network has resilience. Quadratic Assignment Procedure results show that the economic scale has a significant positive impact on trade in this region, neighboring countries tend to establish close trade relations, and the degree of policy communication and facility connectivity between countries needs to be further strengthened. Cultural interoperability also shows significant features, and related follow-up cooperation needs to be further deepened.