SHANGHAI (Reuters) - China has sold exploration rights for three oil and gas exploration blocks in the remote northwest Xinjiang region for more than 2.7 billion yuan ($422 million), the Xinhua news agency reported on Wednesday.
It said that Shenergy Co, Xinjiang Energy (Group) Co and Zhongman Petroleum and Natural Gas Group Corp (ZPEC) secured the rights after a bidding competition that attracted seven companies.
Lack of private investment in oil and gas exploration has been a big stumbling block in Beijing’s attempts to reform the sector, and it has picked the hydrocarbon-rich autonomous region of Xinjiang to try to break the grip of big state-owned companies.
The three blocks in the region’s Tarim basin were among five that the government put up for auction in December, totaling 9,091 square kms (3,510 square miles).
Reporting by Brenda Goh; editing by Richard Pullin