MOVES-Head of PetroChina's Singapore trading office set to leave

SINGAPORE, Dec 31 (Reuters) - The head of PetroChina’s oil trading unit in Singapore will leave the company after serving nearly 26 years, two company officials told Reuters on Tuesday.

Xia Hongwei, the managing director for both the Asian operations at PetroChina’s trading vehicle China National United Oil Corp, known as Chinaoil, and for PetroChina International (Singapore) Pte Ltd, will depart after PetroChina approved his resignation earlier in December, the two officials said. He has held the position since 2001.

Li Shaolin, previously Chinaoil’s trading chief in the Americas, is expected to replace Xia, said one of the company officials.

PetroChina has also appointed Hu Weiqiang, previously the head of Chinaoil’s Taipei office, as the head of oil products trading in Singapore, said one of the company officials.

“It’s a normal change of management personnel ... contributions over the years by Xia are fully recognised by the company,” said one of the Chinaoil officials, an executive based in Beijing who declined to be identified due to company policy.

PetroChina did not respond to e-mail requests for comment.

When reached by Reuters on WhatsApp, Xia said he has not officially left the company. He did not respond to a question on whether PetroChina has accepted his resignation.

In 2017, PetroChina appointed Tian Jinghui, formerly Chinaoil’s domestic fuel sales head, to run the trading company. He succeeded Madam Wang Lihua, who retired after two decades at the company.

Chinaoil trades more than 2 million barrels per day of crude oil and refined products and the Singapore office is one of the company’s three global trading hubs along with London and Houston.

The office has contributed the most in terms of profits among the three centres in the past few years, said the Beijing-based Chinaoil official, without giving further details.

Xia, who joined Chinaoil the same year it was set up, oversaw PetroChina International’s acquisition of Singapore Petroleum Co in 2009, Chinaoil’s record-setting crude purchases in the crude pricing “window” operated by price reporting agency S&P Global Platts in 2015, and the establishment of a retail fuel business in Myanmar this year.

Reporting by Chen Aizhu; Editing by Christian Schmollinger