China: Quest for Crude

The Middle Kingdom can't find enough oil to meet booming domestic demand--and the world is paying at the pump

Yang Hua's passport is stamped with visas that would alarm immigration clerks around the world. He showed up in Indonesia two days after the Bali disco bombing in 2002. He has logged trips on a moment's notice to Iran, Yemen and Qatar as well as the U.S., Australia, Canada, England and Brazil. And Yang doesn't try to hide the substances contained in little glass vials that he brings home from his travels. In fact, they're lined up on the windowsill of his Beijing office, affixed with labels like SAUDI SWEET. Yang, it turns out, works for the China National Offshore Oil...