China National Petroleum Corporation
TypeState-owned enterprise
IndustryOil and gas
Founded1988; 33 years ago (1988)
Number of locations
Increase 22,365 (service stations) (2019)[1]
Area served
Key people
Dai Houliang (Chairman)
Li Fanrong (President)
ProductsPetroleum, natural gas, and other petrochemicals
Production output
Increase 168.44 million MT (2019)[2]
RevenueIncrease ¥ 2,516 billion (2019)[2]
Increase ¥ 121.7 billion (2019)[2]
Increase ¥ 67 billion (2019)[2]
Total assetsIncrease ¥ 2,732 billion (2019)[2]
Total equityIncrease ¥ 1,444 billion (2019)[2]
Number of employees
460,724 (2019)[2]
Footnotes / references
in consolidated basis[3]

The China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) (simplified Chinese: 中国石油天然气集团公司; traditional Chinese: 中國石油天然氣集團公司; pinyin: Zhōngguó Shíyóu Tiānránqì Jítuán Gōngsī)[a] is a major national oil and gas corporation of China and one of the largest integrated energy groups in the world. Its headquarters are in Dongcheng District, Beijing.[4] CNPC was ranked fourth in 2020 Fortune Global 500, a global ranking of the largest corporations by revenue.[5]

Corporate structure

CNPC is the government-owned parent company of publicly listed PetroChina, which was created on November 5, 1999 as part of the restructuring of CNPC. In the restructuring, CNPC injected into PetroChina most of the assets and liabilities of CNPC relating to its hydrocarbon exploration and production, refining and marketing, chemicals and natural gas businesses. CNPC and PetroChina develop overseas assets through a joint venture, the CNPC Exploration & Development Company (CNODC), which is 50% owned by PetroChina.

In March 2014, CNPC Chairman Zhou Jiping announced that CNPC would be opening six business units to private investors.[6]

CNPC also has a memorandum of understanding with UOP Llc, under which the two companies will collaborate on a range of biofuels technologies and projects in China.[7]


Unlike the Chinese Petroleum Corporation (CPC Corporation), which was relocated to Taiwan with the retreat of the Republic of China following the communist revolution in 1949, CNPC can be traced from the beginning as a governmental department of the Government of the People's Republic of China. In 1949, the Chinese government formed a 'Fuel Industry Ministry' dedicated to the management of fuel. In January 1952 a division of the fuel ministry was formed to manage petroleum exploration and mining, called the 'Chief Petroleum Administration Bureau'. In July 1955 a new ministry was created to replace the Fuel Industry Ministry, called the Ministry of Petroleum. From 1955 to 1969, approximately 4 oil fields were found in 4 areas in Qinghai, Heilongjiang (Daqing oilfield), Bohai Bay and Songliao basin. CNPC was created on 17 September 1988, when the government decided to create a state-owned company to handle all Petroleum activities in China and disbanded the Ministry of Petroleum.[citation needed]

CNPC's international operations began in 1993. The CNPC subsidiary SAPET signed a service contract with the government of Peru to operate Block VII in the Talara Province basin.[citation needed] This was followed by an oil contract with the government of Sudan "In June 1997, the Greater Nile Petroleum Operating Company was established with the China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) taking 40 percent ownership".[8] In August 2005 it was announced that CNPC agreed to buy the Alberta-based PetroKazakhstan for US$4.18 billion, then the largest overseas acquisition by a Chinese company. The acquisition went through on 26 October 2005 after a Canadian court turned down an attempt by LUKoil to block the sale.[9] In 2006 67% of shares were sold from the parent company to PetroChina[10] In June 1997, the company bought a 60.3% stake in the Aktobe Oil Company of Kazakhstan, and in July 1997 CNPC won an oil contract for the Intercampo oilfield and East Caracoles oilfield in Venezuela.[citation needed]

In July 1998, the government restructured the company in accordance with the upstream and downstream principle of the oil industry.[11] and CNPC spun off most of its domestic assets into a separate company, PetroChina. On 5 November 2007, HK listed PetroChina was listed as an A-share in the Shanghai Stock Exchange.[citation needed]

In 2012, a CNPC subsidiary, the Bank of Kunlun, was sanctioned because of its financial relationship with the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and the Quds Force.[12]

In July 2013, CNPC and Eni signed a $4.2 billion deal to acquire a 20% stake in a Mozambique offshore natural gas block.[13]

In June 2014, the "head of a key China National Petroleum subsidiary was recalled to Beijing" and fell "from public view".[14] Replacement of China National Petroleum's top representative in Canada was announced in July.[14]


Fuel prices at a PetroChina petrol station in Dalian, Liaoning, China, 2009
Fuel prices at a PetroChina petrol station in Dalian, Liaoning, China, 2009

CNPC holds proven reserves of 3.7 billion barrels (590,000,000 m3) of oil equivalent. In 2007, CNPC produced 54 billion cubic metres of natural gas.[15] CNPC has 30 international exploration and production projects with operations in Azerbaijan, Canada, Iran, Indonesia, Myanmar, Oman, Peru, Sudan, Niger, Thailand, Turkmenistan, and Venezuela. Many of the company's exploration projects are carried out by the Great Wall Drilling Company (GWDC), a wholly owned drilling services company.[16]

In 2018 the company announced it is building natural gas storage facilities with a total capacity of 55.6 billion cu m in the northern Henan province, to ease supply bottlenecks in the peak winter season. China has accelerated the construction of underground gas storage facilities due to the challenges faced in transporting gas last winter when logistical issues forced buyers to truck LNG thousands of kilometers from import terminals to consumption areas. The country has started an ambitious program to convert large numbers of coal-fired boilers to cleaner natural gas, to curb smog and pollution.[citation needed]


South Sudan

CNPC is a major investor in South Sudan's oil sector. The company is major stockholder in Petrodar consortiums.[17]

The Great Wall Drilling Company, a subsidiary of the China National Petroleum Company, invested $700 million in drilling 57 wells in Sudan over a 3-year period starting in 1997.[18] In 2010, the company was awarded a contract by the Sudanese Petroleum Ministry to build 5 oil rigs for $75.5 million.[19]

Central Asia


In December 2011, Afghanistan signed a deal with CNPC for the development of oil blocks in the Amu Darya basin, a project expected to earn billions of dollars over two decades; the deal covers drilling and a refinery in the northern provinces of Sar-e Pol and Faryab and is the first international oil production agreement entered into by the Afghan government for several decades.[20]


CNPC is one of the most active Chinese companies in the petroleum sector in Kazakhstan.[21] It is heavily involved in the development of Kazakh oil after the acquisition of Alberta-based PetroKazakhstan, a company with all operations in Kazakhstan. The company was purchased for $4.18 billion. Political resistance in Kazakhstan to the deal was placated by the sale of a minority stake in PetroKazakhstan by CNPC to KazMunaiGaz, the Kazakh state-owned oil company.


In 2006, CNPC formed an international consortium with state-run Uzbekneftegaz, LUKoil Overseas, Petronas, and Korea National Oil Corporation to explore and develop oil and gas fields in the Aral Sea.[22]

East Asia


In October 2004, CNPC began construction of a pipeline from the Middle East to Xinjiang province.[citation needed]



In May 2014, A 30-year deal between Russia's Gazprom and China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) which was 10 years in the making was estimated worth $400 billion. The agreement was signed at a summit in Shanghai and is expected to deliver some 38 billion cubic meters of natural gas a year, starting around 2018, to China's burgeoning economy.[23]


New Zealand

CNPC operated in New Zealand as CCDC (NZ) Drilling and had one drilling rig, a triple stand DC rig named Rig 43. CCDC NZ started workover/drilling operations in the Kapuni gas fields of South Taranaki New Zealand in late 2012 for "tight gas". The rig completed the Kapuni drilling campaign of 4 wells for STOS (Shell Todd Oil Services) in August 2013. Its next drilling project commenced August 2013 for Tag Oil with one well successfully drilled at Cheal C of a depth of just under 5,000m. The rig was then stood down pending appeals for the next stage of a drilling campaign for Tag Oil in March 2014. Due to the periods involved it was decided to end its drilling campaign in New Zealand. Rig 43 was then dismantled and shipped to other overseas locations and no longer operates in New Zealand.[citation needed]

Southeast Asia


China Petroleum Pipeline Engineering, a unit of CNPC, was the primary contractor working to establish two pipelines in Malaysia. The project was suspended by the Malaysian government in 2018, and in July 2019 a CPP account containing $240 million was seized by the Malaysian government and transferred to a Malaysian government-owned business.[24]

West Asia


Main article: Rumaila field

In March 2009, CNPC began development of Ahdab, an oil field in Wasit Governorate holding a modest one billion barrels, becoming "the first significant foreign investors" in Iraq.[25] The contract is a renegotiated version of a 1997 agreement between China and Iraq under Saddam Hussein.[26] The project progressed despite security problems with local farmers. Dozens of farmers complained of damage to property because of work on the site and Iraqi oil officials claimed thievery from the oil site by local farmers.[25] Adhab is not expected to be a major profit center, earning the company a projected 1 percent profit, but the field was seen as an entry strategy into Iraq.

Following Adhab, CNPC obtained a production contract during the 2009/2010 Iraqi oil services contracts tender to develop the much larger "Rumaila field" with joint venture partner BP, which contains an estimated 17.8 billion barrels (2.83×109 m3) of oil. It is expected that crude oil production from Rumaila will expand by 10% by the end of 2010 once the BP PLC/CNPC consortium takes over development of the field in June 2010.[27][28] A contract was also awarded to a consortium led by CNPC (37.5%), including Total (18.75%) and Petronas (18.75%) for the "Halfaya field" in the south of Iraq, which contains an estimated 4.1 billion barrels (650,000,000 m3) of oil.[29][30]


CNPC became increasingly involved in the development of Iranian oil fields following Western sanctions that targeted the Iranian oil and gas sectors leading many European energy companies such as Shell Oil, Repsol, etc. to shut down operations in Iran. The CNPC along with Sinopec has been involved in various projects relating to Iran's oil/gas development. As of 2011, CNPC has been developing Iran's age-old Masjed Soleyman Oil Field, the oldest oil field of the Middle East, together with Iranian counterpart NIOC in a deal worth 200 million dollars. Production from this particular oil field was expected to increase in 2011 from 2,500 barrels (400 m3) a day to 25,000 barrels (4,000 m3) after the completion of the first phase, and to 55,000,000 bbl/d (8,700,000 m3/d) following the completion of phase 2 of the project.[31]

In August 2018, Total officially withdrew from the Iranian South Pars gas field because of sanctions pressure from the US,[32] leaving CNPC to take up their 50.1% stake in the $5 billion natural gas field, of which it had already 30%.[33] It held this 80.1% share until it withdrew its investment in October 2019 due to the US sanctions on Iran, according to Oil Minister Bijan Zangeneh quoted by the SHANA news agency.[33]


CNPC with Indian state oil firm, ONGC created a joint venture to acquire minority stakes ranging from about 33.3% to 39% in several mature Syrian oil and natural gas properties. The combined entity was a notable instance of cooperation between two state oil firms that regularly competed for assets around the world.[34]

Accidents and incidents

2003 gas leak in Chongqing

On 23 December 2003, a gas blowout occurred at the Luojia No. 16H gas well. 243 people died, 2,142 were hospitalised.[35]

Jilin Chemical Plant

Main article: 2005 Jilin chemical plant explosions

In 2005, there were explosions at a CNPC owned petrochemical plant causing six deaths, a mass evacuation, and a massive oil spill over the Songhua River.

Gas pipeline explosion in Sichuan

A gas pipeline exploded on 20 January 2006 in Sichuan. Reportedly, nine were killed and nearly 40 injured.[36]

2006 gas leak in Chongqing

A leak occurred on 25 March 2006 in the Luojia No. 2 gas well.[35] The third attempt six days after the blowout succeeded; 15,000 were evacuated.[37]

Chishui River diesel spill

Main article: Yellow River oil spill

In 2009 a CNPC pipeline burst, spilling 150 m3 (5,300 cu ft) of diesel oil into the Chishui River in Shaanxi province.[38]

Xingang Port oil spill

Main article: Xingang Port oil spill

In July 2010, two pipelines exploded at an oil storage depot belonging to China National Petroleum Corp near Dalian's Xingang Harbour in Liaoning province which spilled an estimated 1,500 tonnes of crude into the sea. The worst of the spill initially covered 180 km2 (69 sq mi).[39][40]

Suspension of operations in Chad

The operations of a CNPC subsidiary in Chad were entirely suspended in August 2013 by the country's government after it violated environmental standards while drilling for crude oil in the south of the country.[41]

See also


  1. ^ A common shortname for the corporation in Chinese, Zhongguo Shiyou (中国石油), formerly shared the same name as the Chinese Petroleum Corporation, the Republic of China (Taiwan)'s state-owned fuel corporation.


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