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Oil giant names new head
( 2003-10-10 10:29) (China Daily)

China National Offshore Oil Corp yesterday named Fu Chengyu as the interim head of the nation's third largest oil company after former president Wei Liucheng was assigned to a senior position in the government of South China's Hainan Province.

The company, which is also parent of Hong Kong- and New York-listed CNOOC Ltd, said all businesses were proceeding smoothly, and it would stick to previously-set strategies and targets for future development.

"Wei's nomination signalled the central government's recognition of his success in running the group since he became its leader in 1998," the company said in a statement. "We are confident... to maintain the healthy development of CNOOC."

On Wednesday, the organization department of the Communist Party of China nominated Wei as the deputy Party secretary of Hainan, which is the second highest position in the provincial government. Wei was also chosen as a candidate for the governor of the island province.

The central government has a tradition of picking talented managers from large State-owned enterprises for senior government positions in charge of economic development.

Earlier this year, Li Yizhong, former president of China Petrochemical Corp (Sinopec Group) - the second largest domestic oil firm - was selected to be the vice-chairman of the State Asset Regulatory and Management Commission. The commission oversees hundreds of large State-owned companies, including overseas-listed China Telecom and PetroChina.

The 57-old Wei won praise for his successful handling of CNOOC, which is one of the few efficient, transparent and international-standard State-owned enterprises.

Analysts said Wei's initiative and familiarity with international business would enable him to bring in more investment to Hainan, whose economy remains sluggish after a massive speculative investment in property failed in the early 1990s.

For Wei, it is his first posting in Hainan. In 2000, CNOOC invested US$3.6 billion to build the nation's biggest fertilizer plant in the province. It is also the largest industrial investment in the province.

Media reports have suggested that Wei's nomination may also be part of a government strategy to intensify the development of the oil and gas resources in Chinese waters to meet its increasing demands for energy.

Guangzhou-based 21st Century Business Herald reported that Beijing may take the advantage of Wei's rich experience in the oil industry and good relationship with foreign oil giants to tap the reserve-rich South China Sea.

Like Wei, Fu Chengyu has won popularity among employees with his plain and down-to-the-earth manner.

Prior to the promotion, the 52-old Fu was vice-president of the company, and also chairman of Hong Kong-listed China Oilfield Services, another subsidiary of CNOOC.

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