China seeks co-op in oil sector within SCO Thursday, June 15, 2006

China hopes to intensify cooperation with other members of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) in the oil sector, in which its own advantages will also benefit international partners, said industry insiders attending a business forum in Shanghai Thursday.

"Cooperation in the oil sector enjoys rosy prospects and will benefit all the SCO members," said Zhou Jiping, deputy general manager of China National Petroleum Corporation.

After half a century's development, China has gained strong expertise and is able to undertake massive oil and gas excavation projects, Zhou told an SCO business forum on the sidelines of the annual summit meeting.

Many domestic companies can provide technological and professional support to explore wider areas of cooperation with their international partners, he said.

In existing Chinese-funded oil projects overseas, at least 90 percent of the workers are employed locally, creating many jobs for these countries, according to Zhou.

"Chinese oil companies strictly abide by local laws and regulations in their oil exploration operations overseas, boost local economic development and preserve the local environment," he added.

The SCO groups Kazakhstan, China, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. In 2004, the most recent time that data is available, their combined oil output and consumption stood at 720 million tons and 452 million tons respectively.

China is the world's second largest oil consumer with last year's consumption totaling 325 million tons. It is also the world's sixth largest oil producer with 183 million tons in 2005.

Of the 144 million tons of crude oil China imported last year, 11 percent was from its SCO partners.

The country has conducted joint oil and gas exploitation projects with its central Asian neighbors in recent years.

A cross border pipeline designed to transmit 20 million tons of oil a year started to pipe oil from Kazakhstan to China last month, a move experts say will help enhance China's oil supply and provide an ideal outlet for the oil exports of Kazakhstan and other energy-rich countries in the region.

At Thursday's business forum, China's vice minister of communications Feng Zhenglin said the six SCO members should speedup construction of three road networks that will link China, Russia and the central Asia nations with the Caspian Sea, Iran, Turkey and the European countries.

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Editor: Ling Zhu
Source: Xinhua