China's CNPC to Open Six Business Areas to Private Investors


BEIJING, March 5 (Reuters) - China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) plans to open six business areas to private investors, its chairman said on Wednesday, two weeks after peer Sinopec Corp opened up its retail oil business to non-state partners.

Beijing is pushing its state-owned behemoths in sectors such as energy and telecommunication to become more efficient by bringing in non-state investors.

Chairman Zhou Jiping said CNPC, the country's largest energy group, will seek joint investment from non-state sectors to build pipelines, tap unconventional oil and gas resources and build oil refining and chemical complexes.

The company's overseas exploration and production business as well as finance operations would also be open for investment, Zhou told reporters on the sidelines of the annual parliamentary session in Beijing.

Zhou did not say how big the stakes are that CNPC is ready to shed from these businesses, adding that such decisions will have to come from the board of directors.

"Every segment of these businesses is different. Such a plan will be executed category by category," said Zhou.

CNPC is parent of PetroChina Co Ltd , Asia's largest oil and gas producer.

Zhou said investment in pipelines could apply to both projects under construction and those newly planned. Investment in unconventional resources could cover shale gas, coalbed methane and tight gas.

China is in the early stages of unlocking potentially massive shale gas reserves, having brought in only handful of private investors.

Sinopec Corp, Asia's largest oil refiner, said last month it plans to sell up to 30 percent of its retail oil business to private investors in a multi-billion dollar restructuring aimed at boosting the value of its sprawling downstream arm.

(Reporting by Chen Aizhu; Editing by Tom Hogue)


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