By WAYNE MA
BEIJING -- A top Chinese oil executive has become the latest
senior official to come under scrutiny by the nation's top
antigraft agency, as Beijing faces pressure to crack down on
In a one-sentence statement, China's Ministry of Supervision
said Monday it was investigating Wang Yongchun, a vice
president at state-owned China National Petroleum Corp. for
"severe disciplinary violations." Though it didn't disclose
further details, such phrasing is typically used by Chinese
officials when investigating cases of alleged corruption.
A CNPC spokesman declined to comment.
The move is the latest in a string of cases targeting
high-ranking officials at government agencies and state-owned
enterprises amid a campaign by President Xi Jinping, who
acknowledged the threat corruption poses to China's leaders
after he took the Communist Party's top post last year. China
Mobile said last week that a provincial head and former senior
executive is being probed by the Chinese government for the
Mr. Wang, 53 years old, has been in charge of China's
largest oil field in the northeastern Daqing region since 2009
and has been one of six vice presidents at CNPC since 2011,
according to the company's website. CNPC is the country's
largest oil and gas producer by volume.
Industry insiders said Mr. Wang was a potential candidate
for chairman of CNPC after Jiang Jiemin left the post in March
to become head of the commission that oversees China's
state-owned companies. However, Zhou Jiping, who was CNPC's
president, was eventually named to the top post in April after
briefly serving as interim chairman.
In recent months, Mr. Wang has met with visiting energy
officials from Indonesia and South Sudan to discuss upstream
oil-and-gas development, according to an internal CNPC
newsletter. Last week, Mr. Wang finished up a four-day tour of
CNPC's operations in China's northeastern Heilongjiang province
with the company's No. 2 official, Liao Yongyuan, the
Mr. Wang's investigation comes after the anti-graft agency
launched a similar probe in May targeting Liu Tienan, one of 10
deputy directors at China's top economic-planning body. Mr. Liu
served as head of the National Energy Administration from 2008
until March, when he was replaced during an annual meeting of
China's parliament. Mr. Liu was expelled from China's Communist
Party this month for bribe taking, according to China's
official Xinhua news agency.
Chinese officials have worked to show their enthusiasm for
rooting out corruption and taming opulent official lifestyles,
with moves that including calling for modest meals instead of
banquets and warnings to executives at state-owned companies to
closely watch greedy relatives.
State media have stressed the corruption push amid the trial
of Bo Xilai, a former Communist Party stare accused of bribery,
embezzlement and abuse of power. His trial concluded on Monday,
and a verdict is expected next month.
Dow Jones Newswires