CPC Corp, Taiwan’s (CPC, 台灣中油) sale of a 35 percent interest in its Chad oil field to a Chinese company sparked harsh questioning of Minister of Economic Affairs Wang Mei-hua (王美花) in the Legislative Yuan on Monday.
The arrival early this month of the first barrels of oil from the Oryx Oilfield in Chad was celebrated in Taiwan, but lawmakers soon became alarmed when they learned that CPC in 2016 sold half of its 70 percent stake to China CEFC Energy Co (華信能源).
Last week, the ministry submitted a classified report on the share sale, but Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Yang Chiung-ying (楊瓊瓔) said it did not address core concerns about who authorized the sale of such a large stake to a Chinese company.
Photo: George Tsorng, Taipei Times
“Shouldn’t the ministry form a committee to get to the bottom of this issue?” Yang asked.
CPC president Lee Shun-chin (李順欽) had told the legislature’s Economics Committee that the initial plan was to only sell 28 percent of its stake, but the Chinese firm insisted on 35 percent and no other companies at the time would agree to CPC’s terms.
At the time, Paul Chen (陳綠蔚) was CPC president and Lin Sheng-chung (林聖忠) was chairman, but both have since retired.
An internal ministry department has been investigating the matter, Wang said, promising to submit a report to lawmakers by Jan. 17.
The Oryx Oilfield is CPC’s first successful attempt to independently prospect and develop an oil field overseas.
The sale was a necessary risk-management strategy, CPC had previously said, adding that it had signed contracts assuring its continual control of the site, despite the Chinese company owning an equal stake.
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