hina’s biggest oil company is pressing ahead with oil-and-gas projects in Iran valued at billions of dollars, its top executive said, highlighting Beijing’s strong economic ties to Tehran.
The longstanding initiatives by China National Petroleum Corp., running in tandem with a $60 billion global investment plan over the next decade, wouldn’t violate the United Nations Security Council draft resolution devised by the US to punish Iran for its nuclear program, Wall Street journal wrote.
China, along with Russia, agreed to that draft after concessions from Washington that protect energy and financial ties to Iran.
Still, the statement by Jiang Jiemin, president of state-owned China National Petroleum, on Thursday illustrates long-standing Beijing’s relationship with Iran, one of the biggest suppliers of crude oil for China’s fast-growing economy.
“We will implement our projects in Iran as usual, and we don’t have plans to speed up,” Jiang told a news conference at the annual general meeting of PetroChina Co., China National Petroleum’s Hong Kong- and New York-listed subsidiary.
China National Petroleum’s $60 billion international push is aimed at increasing its overseas oil production to four million barrels a day, from 284,000 now.
The effort is being spearheaded by PetroChina, which is the world’s second-most-valuable oil company after Exxon Mobil Corp.
China National Petroleum has been selling assets to PetroChina that aren’t already part of the listed unit, but it keeps assets in Iran and Sudan out of PetroChina to avoid backlash from international shareholders.
Development Phases China National Petroleum is in various phases of developing three fields in Iran, including work on one of the world’s biggest natural-gas fields, and on enhancing recovery from a small, older oilfield.
Jiang said he expected production from the older field to hit around 20,000 barrels a day later this year.
“Regarding our projects that have been started, we will continue to do so,” he said.
Iran was China’s third-biggest supplier of oil last year after Saudi Arabia and Angola. China’s other big state-owned oil companies, China National Offshore Oil Co. and China National Petrochemical Corp., also have projects in Iran, as do oil companies from more than three dozen other countries including the UK, France and Japan.
Faced at home with both declining oil production and rising demand, China has been importing more oil from countries like Iran.
Jiang, who is also chairman of PetroChina, said he hopes to see oil prices between $70 and $80 a barrel and was optimistic PetroChina’s first half financial results would meet analysts’ expectations.
© Iran Daily 2010