CNPC shuffles regional offices to better support global portfolio

China's top oil and gas major CNPC has completed a months-long reshuffle with the addition of six regional offices that report to Beijing headquarters to better coordinate and supervise its sprawling global portfolio, three company executives said.

The process that began in July was the first major organization change for the state giant's global business spearheaded by Chairman Dai Houliang since he took charge in early 2020.

It created offices in Dubai to oversee Middle East businesses, Khartoum in Sudan to cover eastern Africa and N'Djamena in Chad for west Africa, Caracas in Venezuela for South America, and Almaty for Central Asia and Russia, they said.

A sixth office was set up in Hong Kong in late 2022 to oversee more than 20 Asia-Pacific countries, including the United States and Canada, said the officials who declined to be identified as they are not authorised to speak to the media.

The regional headquarters will manage and coordinate CNPC's vast global business including the upstream unit CNPC International, the trading and refining arm PetroChina International, and oilfield services and financing.

They will also take charge of public relations and liaise with governments in their regions.

A CNPC representative declined to comment.

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

The new offices have a combined staff of more than 100, including some transferred from existing business units, two of the sources said.

CNPC produces some 2 million barrels of oil equivalent with top investments in countries like Kazakhstan, Sudan, Chad, Iraq, Australia and Canada.

Like its peers Sinopec and CNOOC, CNPC has in recent years scaled back its overseas expansion as an anti-corruption drive since President Xi Jinping took power in 2012 reined in big-ticket spending.

CNPC, parent of PetroChina, has instead shifted to a re-examination of assets to manage losses while setting its sights on resource nations with which Beijing maintains friendly relations, such as Qatar and the United Arab Emirates.

However, some company officials were sceptical of the benefit of the changes.

"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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