By BENJAMIN HAAS
PetroChina will sell assets valued at $6.3 billion as the
government continues with steps to open state owned
enterprises to private investment.
The company will transfer to a separate unit assets including
the First and Second West-East Gas Pipelines, which carry
natural gas from central Asian countries and Chinas
energy-rich region of Xinjiang to the nations eastern
cities, according to a statement to the Hong Kong stock
exchange on May 12. PetroChina will then sell the unit,
PetroChina Eastern Pipelines, by public tender on an equity
President Xi Jinping is pushing the most aggressive moves in
more than a decade to increase market forces in the economy.
The sale is the first step after chairman Zhou Jiping said in
March PetroChina is considering opening up areas including
pipelines, oil and gas exploration and refining
to private investment.
This sale confirms a shift in strategy and marks a
further step in SOE reform, which is positive for Chinese oil
majors, Neil Beveridge, a Hong Kong-based analyst at
Sanford C. Bernstein, wrote in a note to clients on May 12.
Divestment will help PetroChina improve returns and is
consistent with the mixed ownership model promoted by
President Xi Jinping.
China Petroleum & Chemical, Asias biggest refiner
known as Sinopec, plans to sell a 30% state in its retail
unit, which includes the nations biggest network of
fuel stations, in a deal that could raise as much as $30
billion. State-controlled Aluminum of China Ltd. is also
seeking partnerships with private companies.