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China’s Sinopec Group plans expanded overseas oil and gas exploration in 2007

Sinopec Group, China's largest refiner, said it will seek to expand oil and gas exploration overseas in 2007.

The company said in a statement posted on Sinopecnews that it will pursue a 'big breakthrough' in overseas upstream operations, including projects where it has a share of the production. It provided no further details.

Sinopec Group produced 4.5 mln tons of crude oil from overseas oil fields, accounting for 11 pct of the total, it said.

Sinopec started exploration at the Sakhalin III oil and gas field in the Russian far east in August and teamed up with Rosneft to acquire Udmurtneft, a key oil producer in eastern Siberia in June.

The company also acquired stakes in three deep sea oil exploration blocks in Angola last year.

'It is necessary to speed up upstream expansion overseas given the high crude price on international markets in 2007,' according to Chen Tonghai, general manager of Sinopec Group.

Chen added that the overseas moves will also help bring down costs for its core refining operations.

Sinopec Group is the parent of China Petroleum & Chemical Corp (Sinopec).

© AFX News

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