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Oil producer to double revenue by 2010
( 2004-01-13 00:47) (China Daily By Xie Ye)

China National Petroleum Corp (CNPC), the nation's largest oil producer, aims to double its revenue to US$83 billion by 2010 by expanding its overseas oil and gas business and boosting natural gas production.

The move will help it become one of the world's top 10 oil companies, although domestic oil production is likely to remain flat or even drop.

The company plans to increase its total oil production to 133 million tons by 2010, as compared with 118 million in 2002. The overseas production will be the major force to boost production, according to www.oilnews.com.cn, citing a speech by CNPC General Manager Ma Fucai at the company's annual meeting. The website is sponsored by CNPC.

Natural gas output is expected to triple to 70 billion cubic metres by 2010, compared to production in 2002. Sales of both refined oil and petrochemical products will double to 100 million tons and 30 million tons from those in 2002.

Ma was quoted as saying that the company aims to become a major multinational oil producer and supplier, which he defines as meaning that the firm's overseas business will account for one-quarter of its total by 2010.

CNPC operates oil and gas fields in more than 10 countries, including Peru, Sudan, Kazakstan, Indonesia and Venezuela.

Its overseas output reached 21 million tons in 2002.

Several weeks ago, the company agreed to pay between US$100 million and US$200 million for a 45 per cent stake in Block 1-AB and Block 8, one of the largest oilfields in Peru.

CNPC earlier said that by 2005 it plans to produce 35 million tons of oil in overseas reserves where it has stakes.

"We should share the international oil and gas resources by various means, increasing our share of the global resources market."

Chen Geng, CNPC vice-general manager, indicated that the company will expand its assets in Indonesia as its major overseas oil supply base.

PetroChina, the listing arm of CNPC, paid US$82 million last year for half of the stakes of the US-based Amerada Hess Indonesia Holdings Co which has stakes in several Indonesia oilfields. The acquisition came a year after it paid more than US$200 million for stakes in six Indonesian oil fields from Oklahoma-based Devon Energy.

While expanding its presence in foreign countries, the company will go beyond oil production by tapping into the refinery and trading business, Chen said.

"From this year, we give our overseas business greater prominence. We will reinforce oil exploration and production, develop the high-quality refinery assets, and tap the foreign trading business," Chen was quoted as saying.

Looking at the business this year, Chen cited declining oil prices, increased competition and petrochemical market and the government's decision to slash tax rebates on oil exports as the adverse factors.

The government's improved environmental standards on oil products may also increase the company's production costs, Chen was quoted as saying.

CNPC did not release its profits for last year. Analysts have said the company's profits last year is likely to double to 100 billion (US$12 billion) as international oil prices rose last year to the highest annual average for more than two decades.

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