China's CNPC forms regional offices to manage global portfolio


In order to better coordinate and manage its expansive global portfolio, China's biggest oil and gas giant, CNPC, has completed a months-long reorganisation with the creation of six regional offices that report to Beijing headquarters, according to three company executives.

First significant organisational adjustment for the state giant's international operations since Chairman Dai Houliang assumed leadership in early 2020, the process got under way in July.

As per them, it established offices in Dubai to manage Middle Eastern business, Khartoum in Sudan to oversee eastern Africa, N'Djamena in Chad to oversee west Africa, Caracas in Venezuela to oversee south America, and Almaty to handle business in Central Asia and Russia.

The officials who declined to be named because they are not authorised to speak to the media, a sixth office was established in Hong Kong in late 2022 to handle more than 20 Asia-Pacific nations, including the United States and Canada.

The regional headquarters will oversee and manage CNPC's sizable international operations, which include the upstream company CNPC International, the trading and refining division PetroChina International, as well as oilfield services and financing.

Also, they will manage public relations and communicate with local governments. An official from CNPC declined to comment.

"The idea is to add a horizontal layer of management to better coordinate, supervise and manage CNPC's global businesses," according to sources.

The new offices have a total headcount of more than 100 people, some of whom have been transferred from other business divisions.

With significant assets in nations including Kazakhstan, Sudan, Chad, Iraq, Australia, and Canada, CNPC generates over 2 million barrels of oil equivalent per year.

Since President Xi Jinping came to power in 2012 and reined in large-scale spending, CNPC has recently pulled back its international expansion, joining peers Sinopec and CNOOC in this effort. Instead, CNPC, the parent company of PetroChina, has decided to review its holdings in order to control losses while focusing on resource-rich countries with whom Beijing has cordial relations, such Qatar and the United Arab Emirates.

Yet, several firm executives questioned whether the adjustments would be beneficial.

"There have been many flip-flops over the years regarding CNPC's global organizational structure," said the third official.

"I'm not convinced what these new regional offices could actually achieve other than a 'supervisory' function."

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