No subsidies for oil giants

(China Daily)
Updated: 2007-12-17 11:33

It is not proper for the government to subsidize the losses of giant oil companies, says an editorial in Jiangnan Metropolis News. The following is an excerpt:

It has been reported that China National Petroleum Group (PetroChina) and China Petroleum and Chemical Corporation (Sinopec), monopoly players in the petroleum exploration and refinery industries, are planning to report their losses from refined oil products to the government. They will also explore the possibility of securing a special subsidy to help soften these losses.

It has also been reported that Sinopec received 10 billion ($1.3 billion) yuan in subsidies in 2005, and 5 billion yuan in 2006.

With oil prices constantly on the rise and shortages of refined oil products hitting several regions of the country, it is unnecessary to give further subsidies to these companies.

In August, PetroChina reported that it notched up an 81.8 billion yuan profit in the first half of the year. That was an increase of 1.1 billion yuan over the same time last year, when crude oil prices were lower than they are now.

With international oil prices climbing, PetroChina and Sinopec would see their profits grow months later. Why should they get subsidies from the government when they have huge profits in their pockets?

As monopoly players in the industry, they have profits from other businesses to cushion the losses incurred by refined oil products, whose prices are set by the State.

It is also normal for a business to reduce its operational costs or even lower salaries if it sees a possibility of losses. But Sinopec has increased spending on employee salaries by 32 percent in the first six months of this year.

In short, the authorities should not approve subsidies for these companies.

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