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CNOOC Expects Listing Nod This Year
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China's top offshore oil company CNOOC is confident that once technical difficulties are overcome, it's possible for the red-chip firm to float A shares this year.


"There're only certain particular technical obstacles, such as foreign exchange management, to our initial public offering (IPO) plan in the A-share market. They are not fundamental policy difficulties.”


"Similar hurdles confront China Mobile. When these are settled, our IPO plan will get the green light from the authorities this year," CNOOC Chairman Fu Chengyu told China Daily.


Fan Fuchun, vice-chairman of the China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC), said China Mobile may list in the A-share market this year with an IPO, rather than Chinese depository receipts (CDRs). If successful, China Mobile will become the first overseas-incorporated company to list on the Shanghai bourse.


Fu hinted CNOOC is as important as China Mobile in terms of the CSRC's agenda for red chips. "If China Mobile can float shares within this year, we suppose we deserve the same privilege," Fu said.


The arrival of red chips - mostly national conglomerates incorporated and listed in Hong Kong - in mainland bourses is expected to help regulate and perfect the A-share market as they are used to stringent listing rules overseas and enjoy good profit margins.


"Also, with more companies such as China Mobile and CNOOC coming to Shanghai bourse, the proportion of quality and well-performing firms will pick up," Fu added.


As China's leading offshore oil and gas producer, CNOOC is working harder to maintain sustainable development to meet the country's soaring energy demand.


Fu said his firm is to step up China's first offshore wind power project in Bohai Bay area soon to boost renewable energy development and maintain sustainable energy growth.


"Offshore wind power generation will be a core business for CNOOC in the future. The segment holds great promise in China and will reduce our reliance on fossil fuel. It will help our company and our country maintain a sustainable development pattern," Fu said.


The chairman said CNOOC is working with local wind turbine engine makers to take the project to the trial phase as soon as possible.


Fu said that besides renewable energy, in 15 years CNOOC is to import 60 million tons of liquefied natural gas (LNG) every year, equivalent to 80 million tons of oil.


Natural gas is also a clean fossil fuel.


"The plan to import more LNG will optimize the energy consumption structure in coastal regions and help meet the country's energy demand," Fu said.


(China Daily March 22, 2007)


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