(Adds analyst comment, CNPC first among state giants to cut)
BEIJING, Dec 14 (Reuters) - China National Petroleum Company plans to cut staff at its Beijing headquarters by 20 percent, the company said in a post on its social media blog on Tuesday, the latest move in an efficiency drive by the country’s top state energy group.
The staff reduction plan is the first among Chinese state energy giants amid a 2-1/2-year oil price rout that has forced global energy peers to roll out sweeping cost-cutting measures as profits sank.
The staff cut will be completed by March next year, with some employees relocated to specialized business units.
The move will also reduce the number of departments at the headquarters. Some divisions will be merged, such as the quality and standards supervision departments, which will be combined into one, the report said.
“This is consistent with the Chinese government’s reform drive to streamline state-owned enterprises, with a focus on profitability,” said Gordon Kwan of Nomura Research.
“CNPC takes the lead as it’s under greater cost-cutting pressure compared to Sinopec, which has enjoyed decent refining and petrochemical margins thanks to lower oil prices,” said Kwan.
Company press officials were not immediately available for comment. CNPC is parent of PetroChina.
Earlier in 2016, CNPC carried out a major restructuring, including selling $11 billion worth of financial assets to a listed unit, and announcing plans to transfer its oilfield services business into another listed unit. (Reporting by Chen Aizhu and Meng Meng; Editing by Tom Hogue)