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BEIJING May 12 PetroChina (0857.HK) views
current low oil prices as a rare opportunity to expand its
overseas reach, especially in areas where it already has a
foothold, a company executive said on Tuesday.
"Overseas merger and acquisition is a key strategic
development target for PetroChina," President Zhou Jiping told
reporters on the sidelines of the company's annual general
"At the time of the financial crisis when oil prices keep
falling, there is a rare strategic opportunity for us," he said.
"We are actively but cautiously selecting overseas strategic
He said the company's focus is to strengthen cooperation
with national oil companies in resource countries such as
Kazakhstan, Venezuela and Qatar while joining hands with
international oil majors including Exxon Mobil (XOM.N), Shell
(RDSa.L), Chevron (CVX.N) and BP (BP.L).
PetroChina plans to expand their presence in the five major
regions where it already has business and will emphasise
investment returns when making decisions, Zhou said.
He said the 100,000 barrel-per-day China-Kazakhstan crude
oil pipeline will be fully operational by the end of third
quarter and the China-Central Asia gas pipeline is proceeding
smoothly as planned.
PetroChina would bring in some 40 million tonnes of oil
resoures from Venezuela when bilateral projects come on line in
the future, said Jiang Jiemin, PetroChina's chairman.
The two sides will build a joint refinery in the east part
of Guangdong province in which PetroChina would own a 60 percent
PetroChina will raise up to 100 billion yuan ($14.65
billion) via debt to finance key strategic projects this year,
The top Chinese oil firm has said it needs 150 billion yuan
in financing for 2009.
Zhou said the fund would be used to finance upstream
projects in the Erdos and Tarim basins, coastal refineries, oil
and gas pipeline networks as well as overseas expansions.
PetroChina has completed talks on liquefied natural gas (LNG)
supplies from Exxon Mobil's Australia unit and will have no
regulatory obstacle, Zhou said.
An industry source said in February that Exxon Mobil has
agreed to sell 2 million tonnes of LNG per year for 20-25 years
from its Gorgon project in Australia to PetroChina, though the
deal still needs government approval.
(Reporting by Eadie Chen and Tom Miles; Writing by Jim Bai;
Editing by Ken Wills)