Oil majors see losses in overseas investment
Updated: 2011-07-19 15:32
By Yu Hongyan (chinadaily.com.cn)
Two thirds of three Chinese oil majors' hefty overseas investments have sustained losses, the 21st Century Business Herald reported Tuesday, citing a report from China University of Petroleum.
China's three oil giants, China National Petroleum Corp (CNPC), China Petrochemical Corporation (Sinopec Group), and China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC), invested in as many as 144 overseas projects to the tune of $70 billion by the end of 2010, the paper cited the China Petroleum and Chemical Industry Association (CPCIA).
In 2010 alone, their mega-sized mergers and acquisitions surpassed $30 billion, making up 20 percent of world's upstream mergers and acquisitions, according to CPCIA
Meanwhile, the International Energy Agency said in a report that the three companies' overseas mergers and acquisitions in 2009 accounted for 13 percent of the world's total that year.
The paper said the three oil companies had stakes in about 70 million tons of crude oil overseas in 2010, but little was shipped back to China. Instead, most was sold at spot prices on the international market, the paper said.
An unnamed source told the paper that CNPC shipped back about 5 million tons of crude oil in 2010, one twelfth of its overseas oil stakes.
China's oil consumption reached 420 million tons in 2010, and it imported 239 million tons of crude oil that year, according to Customs.
As state-owned companies, the oil giants should supply oil for the country and its strategic reserves, said Wang Yong, the former secretary general of the private petroleum division with the China Chamber of Commerce.
Compared with those in developed countries, the amount Chinese oil firms ship back is not in accord with their expensive costs, he said.
"Not only the three companies, but many centrally-administrated state-owned enterprises (SOEs) have suffered shocking losses," an unnamed official with the Development Research Center of the State Council told the paper.
Most of these losses are the result of wrong decisions and investment failure, and some are the aftermath of arrogance, he said.
The National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), China's top economic planning agency, gave the green light to more outbound investment at the beginning of this year. But as news of SOE's heavy losses emerged to the public, the State-owned Asset Supervision and Administration Commission tightened controls on this matter, and stated that SOEs are responsible for their losses in overseas investment.
The paper said that the NDRC and the Ministry of Commerce are working on overseas investment regulations.
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