* Bo had spearheaded aggressive overseas expansion
* Probe is part of nationwide anti-corruption campaign
(Adds details, quotes and background)
By Charlie Zhu and Michael Martina
BEIJING, May 16 PetroChina's
overseas operations chief Bo Qiliang is under official
investigation after being removed from his post, a company
source told Reuters, the latest executive implicated in China's
Earlier on Friday, PetroChina said in a filing with the
Shanghai Stock Exchange that Bo had left his post as vice
president due to a change in job role, but did not give a
The company and its parent firm, China National Petroleum
Corp (CNPC), are at the centre of one of the biggest corruption
investigations in the Chinese state sector in years, launched by
the government half a year ago.
The probe, part of a nationwide anti-corruption campaign led
by Chinese President Xi Jinping, is still expanding and there
are no signs it will end soon.
"Several days ago, we heard that he (Bo) was taken away by
investigators from his home," a company source with knowledge of
the matter told Reuters on condition of anonymity.
The source added that Bo had been banned from leaving China
at least a month ago.
Bo will be replaced by Lu Gongxun, the former head of
PetroChina in Kazakhstan, the source said. Lu was not
immediately available for comment.
Earlier on Friday, well-respected Chinese news magazine
Caixin cited internal sources as saying Bo recently had been
"taken away for investigation".
PetroChina spokesman Mao Zefeng reiterated the stock
exchange statement but declined to comment further to Reuters.
Bo's company biography appeared to have been removed from the
PetroChina is China's dominant oil and gas producer. Its
operations span the globe, from oil production facilities and
pipelines to refineries and petrochemical projects. Its market
capitalisation of about $210 billion makes it one of the world's
most valuable oil firms.
Bo, 51, a veteran of the company, had spearheaded its
aggressive overseas expansion in the past few years. Under
former chairman Jiang Jiemin, PetroChina and CNPC entered into a
series of major overseas deals.
Industry sources have told Reuters that new management has
realised that the firm may have been overly aggressive in some
of the deals, including purchases of high-cost unconventional
energy assets like oilsands and shale gas in Canada and coalbed
methane projects in Australia.
Five former top executives from both PetroChina and CNPC are
being investigated for "serious discipline violations",
shorthand generally used to describe corruption.
They include Jiang, who was a vocal proponent of expansion
and of what he called the national and social responsibilities
of state-owned enterprises.
Jiang was head of PetroChina and CNPC from late 2006 until
early last year. Under his leadership, PetroChina's capital
expenditure almost doubled to 352.5 billion yuan in the five
years to 2012.
President Xi launched the corruption crackdown soon after
becoming the head of the ruling Communist Party late in 2012 and
has made it a central pillar of his rule.
Seeking to win back public confidence in the face of a
seemingly endless stream of scandals, he has said pervasive
graft threatens the party's very survival.
Xi has vowed to target powerful "tigers" as well as lowly
"flies", though some analysts say the campaign may be an effort
to consolidate his power and remove opposition.
(Reporting by Charlie Zhu and Michael Martina; Editing by