PetroChina to increase investment in oil, gas business despite financial crisis 2008-10-21 22:41:35   Print

    BEIJING, Oct. 21 (Xinhua) -- PetroChina Company Limited will increase its investment in its oil and gas business from 60 to 70 percent in 2009, said company chairman Jiang Jiemin on Tuesday.

    PetroChina's losses during the global financial crisis are "limited and under control", Jiang told reporters after a shareholders meeting. He said it's because the company has focused the majority of its business on oil and gas production and exploration in the past few years.

    According to Jiang, PetroChina may adjust its investment structure but will continue to strengthen its core business as oil and gas projects are to last generally six to eight years.

    PetroChina's investment in 2009 will focus on finding more oil and gas resources.

    Jiang said PetroChina is also studying the possibility of acquiring energy companies made vulnerable by the global credit crisis both in the capital market and the resources market.

    PetroChina's assets are good and the company has no difficulty finding financing, said Jiang.

    He added that the company's assets-liabilities ratio is less than 30 percent, much lower than that of international counterparts such as BP and Shell.

    The investment plan for this year, which was approved at the shareholder's meeting, will not be adjusted in order to avert risks, Jiang said.

    Current international crude prices will bring profits to PetroChina's refining sector. 75 U.S. dollars per barrel will be good for the company to maintain a healthy and stable profit level, said Jiang.

    Soaring crude prices and domestic fuel price caps cost PetroChina 59 billion yuan (8.63 billion U.S. dollars) in the oil refining and sales sectors in the first half of the year. Compared to the same period last year, the company made nearly 4 billion yuan in profit.

    International crude prices fluctuated wildly amid worries of a widespread credit crisis and reduced demand for oil. For example, benchmark oil prices in New York falling about 50 percent from a record 147.27 U.S. dollars per barrel on July 11.

    Jiang said PetroChina wanted to see oil prices at about 80 U.S. dollars per barrel.

    As the president of China National Petroleum Corp. (CNPC), PetroChina's parent company, Jiang Jiemin said that CNPC will continue to purchase A-shares of PetroChina in line with the country's regulations.

    As the share price of PetroChina in Shanghai and Hong Kong are related, CNPC has purchased some H-shares of PetroChina as well, he said.

    CNPC purchased 60 million A-shares of PetroChina on Sept. 22.

    Jiang said, CNPC will benefit from PetroChina's stable bonus awarding and is confident in PetroChina's future value on the stock market.

    Since listed in the Shanghai stock market in November last year, PetroChina has seen its stock price slide from a debut of 48.6 yuan (7.11 U.S. dollars) per share to a little more than 10 yuan, which has caused investor complaints.

    Listed in Hong Kong, New York and Shanghai, its price in the A-share market was 11.90 yuan per share and 6.45 Hong Kong dollars on Monday.

Editor: Yan
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