BEIJING, Oct 20 (Reuters) - China's Beijing Energy Investment Holding Co Ltd, a local government-backed firm, submitted the highest bids for three oil and gas blocks in a rare tender issued by the Ministry of Land & Resources, a government source said on Tuesday.
A total of 13 companies, including state giant Sinopec and a Xinjiang-based private firm were among the bidders for a handful of blocks the ministry put out for a tender in July, state television reported on Tuesday.
The Beijing firm pledged over 6 billion yuan ($945.18 million) for three blocks, said the source, who has direct knowledge of the bids but not authorized to speak to press.
According to the company website, the Beijing firm is engaged in utility, new energy and real estate business with total assets worth 173.2 billion yuan ($27.28 billion)in 2014.
MLR, charged for managing the country's mining rights, issued a trial tender in July that allowed private domestic enterprises to bid for a total of six blocks in the remote northwestern region of Xinjiang.
China, the world's fourth largest crude oil producer, has long limited oil and gas mining rights to state energy giants, with PetroChina and Sinopec dominating onshore acreage and China National Offshore Oil Company (CNOOC) a near monopoly offshore.
Limited exploration has been done on the blocks tendered that have a combined size of 10,000 square kilometers.
"The highest bid by the Beijing company just indicates that the firm is keen to enter the sector," said the source.
Xinjiang has proven reserves of 5.6 billion tonnes of oil at the end of 2014, according to the local government, and produced 540,000 barrels of oil per day.
($1 = 6.3480 Chinese yuan renminbi)
(Reporting by Chen Aizhu and Winni Zhou; Editing by Michael Perry)
Copyright 2017 Thomson Reuters. Click for Restrictions.
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