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PetroChina on 'buy' drive (2)

By Li Tao  (China Daily)

13:12, August 24, 2012

"The global economic situation bring more merger and acquisition opportunities abroad, PetroChina will evaluate these opportunities prudently, and we are actively seeking acquisition opportunities in Central Asia, East Africa, Australia and Canada," Vice-Chairman and President of PetroChina Zhou Jiping said on Thursday.

The energy group's capital expenditure is estimated to reach 300 billion yuan this year, among which some 100 billion yuan will be allocated to overseas projects, Zhou said. He added that PetroChina will boost overseas production to account for half of its total oil and gas output in the next five to eight years.

"PetroChina should also bear in mind that overseas acquisitions are not easy given these assets they purchase are considered sensitive, particularly as most of those which they seek are onshore projects, which is even more sensitive than the offshore ones," Kenny Tang, executive director of AMTD Financial Planning Ltd, told China Daily.

Besides regular oil and gas production, PetroChina will maintain its heavy investments on the development in unconventional natural gas business. The company will spend more than 10 billion yuan on the three types of unconventional clean energy, namely tight gas, coal bed methane and shale gas, which are also vast in reserves in China, Zhou said.

The State-owned energy giant will continue to invite private capital to look for investment opportunities jointly in infrastructure facilities such as oil and gas pipeline construction. The company said in May it would introduce private investment in the third West-East gas pipeline construction, which is due for completion within three years.

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