(Adds companies saying one of the officials has resigned)
HONG KONG/BEIJING Dec 17 The Chinese government
has questioned two more executives from China National Petroleum
Company (CNPC) as part of a wider graft investigation into the
state energy giant, two people with direct knowledge of the
matter told Reuters.
CNPC and its listed unit PetroChina
are at the centre of one of the biggest corruption
investigations into the Chinese state sector in years.
Wen Qingshan, CNPC's chief accountant, and Wang Lihua, head
of PetroChina's oil trading vehicle Chinaoil, were "taken away"
by authorities last week, said the people, who declined to be
identified because they were not authorised to talk to the
media. Wang is also CNPC's deputy chief economist.
It was not immediately clear whether the two officials were
the target of the investigation or were assisting in the broader
Two officials at Chinaoil - Zheng Jun, head of crude oil
trading, and a company lawyer who only gave his surname as Chen
- said by telephone that the Reuters report on Wang was "totally
"Such a thing that you reported has never happened to
president Wang," said Zheng. "She is still handling daily
Zheng declined to put Reuters in touch with Wang. Other
attempts to reach her were unsuccessful, as were efforts to
One of the two sources told Reuters: "Several officials were
taken away by the authorities. One is quite senior. He is CNPC's
chief accountant Wen Qingshan. The other officials included ...
Calls to CNPC media officials were not answered. PetroChina
spokesman Mao Zefeng declined to comment, although PetroChina
later issued a statement to the Hong Kong Stock Exchange saying
Wen had resigned as a supervisor of the oil and gas producer due
to personal reasons.
In a separate statement to the exchange, Kunlun Energy
, PetroChina's natural gas distribution arm, said Wen
had resigned as chairman for personal reasons.
Wen was appointed chairman in August, replacing Li Hualin,
who the company had said was being investigated by authorities.
Zhang Bowen, currently an executive director, would act as
Kunlun Energy chairman, the statement said, adding the company
had applied to the exchange for its shares to resume trading on
Wednesday after they were suspended early on Tuesday.
Beijing stunned the Chinese energy industry in August and
September with announcements that five former top executives at
PetroChina and CNPC were being investigated for "serious
discipline violations" - shorthand generally used to describe
They included Jiang Jiemin, former chairman of both
Authorities have given no further details on what these
officials may have done wrong, but the investigations suggest
President Xi Jinping wants to tackle graft in an industry that
ranks as one of the most powerful corners of the state-owned
Wang has been chief of Chinaoil since 1998. The company has
expanded rapidly over the years to become an influential global
player in oil markets.
(Reporting by Chen Aizhu and Charlie Zhu; Editing by Jason
Subler and Dean Yates)