Discoveries boost oil firm stocks

By Hui Ching-hoo (China Daily)
Updated: 2007-06-09 10:31

HONG KONG: Prices of the mainland's three Hong Kong listed oil-related stocks - China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC), PetroChina and Sinopec - surged significantly as a result of the newly discovered oil fields and the soaring international oil price.

International securities houses and analysts believe the overall net profit of the three oil giants could reach 240 billion yuan by the end of the year.

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CNOOC's share price went through the psychologically important barrier of HK$8 on Tuesday and peaked at HK$8.4 the next day. The price of PetroChina picked up from HK$9.95 to HK$10.62 between May 31 and June 6, while Sinopec stock rose from HK$7 to HK$8 in May and is now getting close to HK$9.

Ricky Tam, chairman of Hong Kong Institution of Investors, said he expected CNOOC and PetroChina's prices to rise by a further 10 to 15 percent.

"The prices of the three oil-related stocks stayed pretty flat earlier because the shares were overlooked by institutional investors. But their prices have slid to an attractively low level as compared to their projected earnings," said Tam.

CASH Asset Management Associate Director Patrick Yiu forecast that PetroChina's share price would exceed HK$11, while Sinopec's would reach HK$9.

"The international oil price is remaining at a high level, which will help boost the price of PetroChina," said Yiu.

Securities house CLSA recently adjusted the target price of CNOOC from HK$8 to HK$9, while the prices of PetroChina and Sinopec are expected to grow to HK$13 and HK$10.8 respectively.

There had been a great deal of speculation that Sinopec would devote most of its efforts to developing its natural gas business in Sichuan, at the expense of its oil exploration business. But the discovery of a new oilfield in Xinjiang is a positive sign that the company is able to maintain its status as Asia's largest oil refiner.

An oil analyst from CLSA forecast that Sinopec's crude oil reserves would increase by 50 percent next year, which would boost the value of the firm's net assets by 5 percent.

"The production capacity of the new oil field is one of highest on the mainland," said the analyst.

DBS Vickers analyst Law Wai-yip pointed out: "Oil stocks have long lagged behind the Hang Seng Index and are set to attract investors."

(China Daily 06/09/2007 page10)

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