SHANGHAI, March 8 Asia's top oil refiner Sinopec
Corp said the upcoming sale of its lucraticve retail
oil business will be open to foreign investors as well as
domestic companies, state news agency Xinhua said.
Sinopec said last month it plans to sell up to 30 percent of
its retail oil business to private investors in a multi-billion
dollar restructuring aimed at boosting the value of its
sprawling downstream arm.
Foreign investors have shown a stronger interest in the sale
process than local companies, Xinhua reported late on Friday,
citing Chairman Fu Chengyu.
Sinopec has begun to evaluate assets in its distribution
sector and is still working on the restructuring process, Xinhua
Analysts have said that Sinopec could bring in strategic
foreign players, such as Royal Dutch Shell or BP
, which it already has joint ventures with.
The proposed stake sale in state-run Sinopec's marketing
arm, which owns more than 30,000 petrol stations, comes as China
is looking to promote private investment in the country's oil
industry and vowed in November to let the private sector play a
bigger role in the economy.
State giants China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) and
China Railway Corporation have also said they were seeking
investments from private and social capital, such as funds
sourced from pension funds and insurance companies.
For the energy sector, analysts said there would be more
opportunities for foreign players in areas where they have
technological advantages, particularly in the development of
unconventional gas resources.
(Reporting by Fayen Wong; Editing by Kim Coghill)