Wed, May 17, 2006 - Page 12 News List

Chinese Petroleum to invest NT$15bn in oil exploration

BLOOMBERG

Chinese Petroleum Corp (中油), the nation's state-owned oil refiner, plans to spend NT$15.6 billion (US$490 million) on exploration over the next five years to boost supplies in the face of soaring crude prices.

The company will earmark NT$8.3 billion for overseas exploration and NT$7.3 billion to search for oil in the country, the State-owned Enterprise Commission said in a statement yesterday.

Chinese Petroleum aims to boost earnings by increasing oil and gas production, which accounted for 48 percent of its profit last year, as the company lost money in the domestic fuel market. The company now has stakes in fields in Indonesia, Ecuador, Venezuela and Australia.

"The Middle East, Indonesia and Chad are our prime investment targets," Tsao Mihn (曹明), company vice president, said in a telephone interview yesterday.

Chinese Petroleum aims to find 90 million barrels of crude oil and 5.7 billion cubic meters of natural gas through the new investments, the commission said.

Chinese Petroleum reported a pre-tax profit of NT$9.6 billion last year, down 61 percent from 2004.

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